Stanley Cup Playoffs News and Notes

Two conference semifinal series are wrapped up, but two more are heading to a win-or-go-home Game 7. As the playoff field has dwindled down to six, here are some of the latest news and notes happening across the National Hockey League.

Bruins advance to ECF

Tuukka Rask was flawless, stopping all 39 shots in his path as the Bruins closed out the series with a 3-0 win against the Blue Jackets in Game 6. It is the first time the Bruins have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals since 2013.

After a scoreless first period, David Krejci put the Bruins on the board with a slap shot that got past Sergei Bobrovsky. Then in the third, Boston put the game away with back-to-back goals less than two minutes apart. Marcus Johansson and David Backes goals put the Bruins ahead 3-0, where the score would stand.

Boston was outshot 39-29 in the contest but had fewer giveaways and more blocked shots. The biggest difference came on the penalty kill, where once again the Bruins were able to stifle all four power plays the Blue Jackets had in the game. It was the third straight game Columbus was held scoreless with the extra attacker.

The Bruins will now host the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals, a team coming off of a sweep of the Islanders and also a Game 7 road win against the Capitals. Game 1 from Boston is TBD, but will likely be Thursday or Friday.

Landeskog, Avs Survive in OT

A back-and-forth game was finally sealed in overtime when Gabriel Landeskog punched in a rebound to give the Avalanche a 4-3 win over the Sharks. It was the biggest goal of the postseason for Colorado, which sends the series to Game 7.

Both teams traded goals all game, starting with Tyson Jost’s wrister in the second period. Marc-Edourd Vlasic answered for San Jose, just a few minutes before J.T Compher and Brent Burns traded goals a minute apart to tie the game at 2. Compher’s second score of the game four minutes into the third put Colorado back on top, only to see Vlasic once again tie the game with about two and a half minutes to go in regulation. Finally, Landeskog’s third goal of the postseason ended the game.

The Avs held a slight 26-22 advantage in shots on goal but also failed to capitalize on any of their three power-play chances. But they committed just one penalty and had fewer giveaways, while also accumulating more blocked shots and takeaways.

It all comes down to one more game in this eventful series. Game 7 in San Jose is scheduled for Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST.

Bishop Set To Start Game 7

Dallas is thanking their lucky stars that goaltender Ben Bishop is feeling okay and will start Tuesday night’s Game 7 against the Blues in St. Louis.

Bishop took a heavy slap-shot from defenseman Colton Parayko right into his collarbone, knocking him flat on the ground where he laid as the Blues put the puck into the empty net. The pain was visible on his face, and he would eventually leave the game as St. Louis would go on to win 4-1 to force Game 7. After fears of a broken collarbone, Bishop confirmed that he is okay and will be ready for the final game of the series.

Bishop’s health is vital for the Stars to say the least. This postseason, he carries a 2.32 GAA and .929 save percentage in 12 games. Should his pain start to linger and affect his performance, Anton Khudobin would be able to step in.

The Blues and Stars wrap up their series on Tuesday, while the Sharks and Avalanche finish theirs on Wednesday. Then it’s the start of conference finals, as the Bruins and Hurricanes will begin that round soon after.