The Boston Bruins have retaken home ice advantage after a Game 4 win at the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nationwide Arena was rocking for Game 4 but the Blue Jackets were unable to take a 3-1 series lead, thanks in large part to a stellar night in net from Tuukka Rask.
Out west, the Colorado Avalanche also managed to avoid falling into a 3-1 hole against the San Jose Sharks. The Avs bounced back from a tough Game 3 loss and grabbed a shutout win at home to even up the series on Thursday. Nathan MacKinnon scored in his third straight game as the Avs won 3-0.
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Stanley Cup playoffs for Thursday, May 2
- Game 4: FINAL -- Bruins 4, Blue Jackets 1 (Series tied 2-2) [Box Score]
- Game 4: FINAL -- Avalanche 3, Sharks 0 (Series tied, 2-2) [Box score]
The Avs brought a strong effort in Game 4 on Thursday night and they put together a shutout effort in Colorado to even the series. Colin Wilson added an insurance goal in the third period on a wild power play sequence that culminated in an awesome no-look pass from Mikko Rantanen. All Wilson had to do was finish, and finish he did.
Philipp Grubauer made 32 saves for his first career playoff shutout. The Avs and Sharks will head back to San Jose all knotted up at 2-2, meaning three of the four playoff series are currently tied after four games. Thanks for nothing, Islanders!
The Nathan MacKinnon show
This still remains a tight, low-scoring game after 40 minutes but we do finally have a goal on the scoreboard. That goal belongs to -- who else -- Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche star went down to the dirty area and found a way to bat a puck out of midair and into the back of the net to give Colorado a 1-0 lead in their own barn.
That ups MacKinnon's point streak up to eight games. He has scored six goals and added seven assists during that span. Not too shabby.
Avs-Sharks scoreless after one
The Avs are trying to bounce back and take a win on home ice and the first period in Colorado had a bit of action both ways (22 combined shots on net) but nobody has managed to find twine just yet. There's been plenty of scoring so far in this series so it seems likely that we've got an eventful 40 minutes ahead.
Bruins pull away in third
The Bruins got a big third-period performance and managed to add a couple of goals onto their lead. Sean Kuraly put the first insurance goal on the board when he established position in front of the net and put home a Zdeno Chara shot that bounced off the boards behind the net.
Patrice Bergeron added another with his second power play goal of the game, effectively putting the game on ice. The Bruins lock up Game 4 by a final score of 4-1 and head back to Boston with the series tied 2-2.
Scoreless second, but still crazy
No goals during the second period but still plenty of action going both ways. The Blue Jackets controlled a good portion of the middle frame but didn't get anything on the scoreboard to show for it, due in large part to the strong performance of Tuukka Rask between the pipes for the Bruins.
Boston's power play continued to have issues despite that early power-play goal in the first period. Not only have the Bruins failed to convert on their four attempts since then, but they've continued to allow quality shorthanded chances the other way.
Still, the score remains 2-1 heading into the third.
Off to an insane start
Well, the night of hockey sure got off to an interesting start. The first period in Columbus had a little bit of everything, including some controversy, but we'll get to that in a bit.
First, the Bruins got off to an ideal start with two goals. Not only did they come from two key players who have been uncharacteristically quiet -- David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron -- but one of them also came on the power play. Pastrnak got the party started with a shot that trickled through Sergei Bobrovsky 3:33 into the game.
Then Bergeron added a goal on the power play, finally giving the Bruins some life on special teams.
However, Boston's man-advantage still had its issues in the first period, specifically when it came to giving up shorthanded opportunities the other way. They allowed a number of breakaways and odd-man rushes while on the power play, with one of them resulting in a penalty shot for Boone Jenner. That try was stopped by Tuukka Rask.
The Blue Jackets got one of those goals back when Artemi Panarin beat Tuukka Rask, but the goal should not have counted due to the puck hitting the netting (out of play) before Panarin scored. However, officials missed it and it's a circumstance that doesn't allow for review, for some reason.
The Bruins sort of seemed off their game following that botched call, but they're lucky enough to be heading into the first intermission still leading by one.