After a light one-game slate on Monday, we got back to having multiple series in action on Tuesday. First, the Blue Jackets hosted the Bruins in the first second-round playoff game ever held in Columbus. The Jackets rewarded fans' patience by securing a win against Boston in another tight, one-goal game, although this one did not need overtime.
The Blue Jackets shut down the Bruins once again and took a 2-1 win in Game 3, giving them a 2-1 lead in the series with a chance to push the Bruins to the brink on home ice later this week.
In the late game, the Sharks bounced back from a rough Game 2 by grabbing a road win against the Avalanche in Colorado. Nathan MacKinnon extended his point streak to seven games but it was Logan Couture who stole the show with a hat trick (including the game-winning goal) in San Jose's 4-2 win over the Avs. The Sharks now hold a 2-1 series lead.
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NHL Playoffs for Tuesday, April 30
- Game 3: FINAL - Blue Jackets 2, Bruins 1 (CBJ leads 2-1) [Box score]
- Game 3: FINAL - Sharks 4, Avalanche (SJS leads 2-1) [Box score]
Sharks hold off Avs
The Avalanche made it interesting in the third period when Matt Nieto briefly tied the game with a deflection in front of the Sharks' net, but Logan Couture quickly reclaimed the lead for San Jose less than a minute later. The Avs coughed up the puck in the defensive zone and Couture made them pay with a great shot for his second goal of the night.
Couture would go on to pick up the hat trick when he sealed the deal with an empty netter in the final minute.
MacKinnon, Avs hit back
The Avs found some life in the second period and it came courtesy of -- who else? -- Nathan MacKinnon. The superstar center showcased his amazing shot by going top corner on Martin Jones, who stood no chance.
That increases MacKinnon's point streak to seven games in these playoffs, with five goals, seven assists and 12 points in that span. More importantly, it cut the Sharks' lead in half heading into the third period.
Sharks bring big bite in first period
Well, the Sharks' first period in Colorado went pretty well! After dropping Game 2 back in San Jose, the Sharks came flying out of the gate and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against the Avs. Logan Couture tallied the first goal of the game -- and his first of the series -- with a strong play in front of the net. He also followed it up with an excellent celebration.
Then, Timo Meier followed up that goal with one of his own when he turned on the jets, cut through the Avs' defense and unleashed a beautiful snipe.
This game is all Sharks as it's 2-0 into the second period.
Columbus holds off Bruins to take series lead
The Bruins made a strong push in the third period and had a number of opportunities to tie the game, but none of them were converted and Columbus was able to hold on. Sergei Bobrovsky was feeling it once again and made several big-time stops down the stretch to keep the Bruins frustrated. He also got some help from his red friends behind him.
Boston had a pivotal power play in the third period but mustered just 16 seconds on the man advantage before a tripping penalty from Patrice Bergeron sent the action to 4-on-4. Trouble on special teams has been a theme for the Bruins in this series.
Blue Jackets hold serve in 2nd period
Things did not go well for the Bruins for much of the second period. Columbus was all over Boston and they managed to double their lead with an absolutely dominant effort on the power play following a Brad Marchand high stick. The Bruins got pinned in their own end and couldn't clear the zone, and eventually it was Matt Duchene who buried a PPG in front of the net.
Boston picked up their energy in the final few minutes of the middle frame and finally got on the board with a goal from Jake DeBrusk. That tally barely made it over the goal line and needed a replay review to confirm but it counted and gave the Bruins a little momentum heading into the second intermission.
Bruins control first period but trail after one
It was a very good 18 minutes of hockey for the Bruins in period one of Game 3, but they're still struggling to finish their opportunities and Sergei Bobrovsky isn't doing them any favors. The Blue Jackets' goaltender made some nice stops in the opening frame.
Despite Boston having more sustained possession in the first, it was the Blue Jackets who got on the board first when Boone Jenner made a nice move to get around Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton and fire a shot past Tuukka Rask, who over-committed a bit. It's Jenner's first goal of the postseason.
Missed chances have come back to haunt the Bruins through both games in this series (though they won Game 1 in overtime) so let's see if they can get some luck (and some finish) on their side moving forward.