Bruins stop Blackhawks

Gionta, Nash help streaking Bruins power past Chicago 7-4

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins found different ways to win during their perfect homestand.

Brian Gionta and Rick Nash scored power-play goals just over a minute apart, and the Bruins beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-4 on Saturday to finish their homestand at 6-0. The goals came during a double-minor penalty on Chicago’s Patrick Kane.

Coming off a 3-2 victory against Philadelphia, the Bruins scored four power-play goals and one shorthanded. They also won games by scores of 2-1, 8-4 and 6-5 during the streak.

“I just think this time of the year you’re playing teams in different circumstances — teams will get loose and some are tight,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Teams that are loose, our guys feel they can win those games.”

Jake DeBrusk set up two power-play goals by David Krejci. David Pastrnak scored, Noel Acciari had a shorthanded tally and Sean Kuraly added an empty-netter for Boston.

“We’re comfortable in all sorts of games and obviously when things need to be tightened up, we do that as well,” said Gionta, who played just his fifth game since signing with the Bruins. “It shows our adaptability.”

Tuukka Rask made 23 saves on his 31st birthday.

Erik Gustafsson had a goal and two assists, and Jonathan Toews, John Hayden and Matthew Highmore scored for Chicago, which lost for the fifth time in seven games.

“For 40 minutes we were decent. Their power play was excellent in the third,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.

Highmore’s goal was his first in the NHL. It was a bright spot for a team well outside the playoff picture.

“It was good to see Highmore get his first goal,” Gustafsson said.

Gionta, the captain of the U.S. team at the Pyeongchang Olympics, scored the go-ahead goal 8:02 into the third by tapping in a rebound at the edge of the crease. Nash redirected a shot from the top of the crease 1:16 later.

Boston had tied it at 4 when Pastrnak charged to the net to knock in Brad Marchand’s rebound with 13:37 left in the third period.

Highmore broke a 3-3 tie by sending a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Rask inside the far post with 4:14 left in the second period.

Chicago had taken a 3-2 edge on Hayden’s goal 6:37 into the second, but Boston tied it 10 seconds into a power play.

DeBrusk stick-handled around a pair of Blackhawks players before sending a pass over to Krejci, who one-timed a shot into the net.

The teams were tied at 2 after a first period that featured plenty of good scoring chances and a shot off a post by each club.

Boston went ahead 2-0 with two special-teams goals. Acciari fired the rebound of Kuraly’s breakaway shot into the net 11:27 into the game. Krejci, positioned in the slot, one-timed DeBrusk’s pass from the left corner over J-F Berube’s left shoulder.

The Blackhawks scored twice in 29 seconds to tie it.

On the first, Gustafsson fired a slap shot from the left point that Toews tipped inside the right post. Gustafsson fired a shot from nearly the identical spot that beat Rask to the same side, tying it at 14:56.

Avalanche ride fast start to 5-2 win over Coyotes

DENVER (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon dropped the gloves to stick up for a teammate who took a big check.

Admirable, his coach said. Understandable, too.

“But I would advise him not to be doing that the rest of the year,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said of the team’s top scorer. “He’s such a big part of our club that there’s too much at risk there.”

No harm done.

Blake Comeau and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and an assist in a first-period burst, goaltender Jonathan Bernier won his ninth straight home game but left in the third period with a sore neck and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 on Saturday.

The speedy MacKinnon fired up the crowd — and his teammates — in the first period when he went after Arizona’s Jordan Martinook, who knocked Mikko Rantanen to the ice with a hit.

“I just saw Mikko get crushed and I just reacted,” explained MacKinnon, who along with Martinook drew a penalty for fighting.

This advice from his coach: Be careful.

“He’s a competitive guy, a highly competitive guy and he didn’t like what he saw so he does that,” Bednar said. “You’re just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.”

His actions drew a measure of respect from Martinook.

“He’s not just a good player — he sticks up for his teammates,” Martinook said.

Colorado got off to a flying start as Colorado had three goals in the opening 4:22 to take a 3-1 advantage. The Avalanche rode the torrid start to another win at the Pepsi Center, where they’ve gone 14-1-1 since Dec. 29.

Grubauer’s 24 saves lead Capitals past Sharks 2-0

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — On a road trip where Washington struggled to generate any offense, Nicklas Backstrom’s goal was enough to send the Capitals home on a good note.

Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves for his fifth career shutout and Backstrom broke a scoreless tie late in the second period to help the Capitals salvage the final game of their California swing with a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

“I just thought it was a pretty complete team effort,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I would probably say the last seven, eight periods we played pretty well. We just didn’t get the results that we wanted in all three games here.”

Washington was outscored 7-1 in losses to Anaheim and Los Angeles to open the trip before a narrow win in San Jose moved the Capitals one point ahead of Pittsburgh for first place in the Metropolitan Division, pending the Penguins’ game in Toronto later.

Alex Ovechkin, two goals short of 600 for Washington, was held scoreless for the third straight game. Marc-Edouard Vlasic thwarted one chance for Ovechkin to get goal No. 599 with a strong back check and goalie Martin Jones robbed Ovechkin on a partial breakaway midway through the third period to keep San Jose’s deficit at 1-0.

Lars Eller’s empty-net goal sealed the win for the Capitals.

Vegas beats Buffalo 2-1 in shootout to win 20th road game

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Erik Haula scored the decisive shootout goal and the Vegas Golden Knights set an NHL record for road victories by an expansion team following a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday

Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland forced overtime by scoring the tying goal from a bad angle with 4:14 left in regulation. Marc-Andre Fleury won his 399th career game by stopping 31 shots through overtime.

After both teams traded shootout goals, Haula scored in the fifth round by driving up the right side and beating goalie Robin Lehner on the short side.

Justin Bailey scored for Buffalo. Lehner finished with 31 saves in the loss.

The Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights improved their road record to 20-12-3, to beat the league record of 19 set by Anaheim in 1993-94, their inaugural season.

The Golden Knights, 44-19-5, have already set NHL expansion-team records for most overall wins, home wins, points and longest winning streak — an 8-0 run from Dec. 14 to Jan. 2.

To put Vegas’ road record into perspective, they became just the fifth team to win 20 this season. Of all NHL teams, only two had won 18 or more — Anaheim and Florida (18) — in their inaugural seasons.

The Golden Knights were in jeopardy of being shut out for the fourth time this season before Engelland tied the game. Getting the puck in the right circle, Engelland drove around the net to draw Lehner out of position. Coming out the other side, Engelland’s banked the puck in off Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella, who slid through the crease in a bid to block the pass attempt.

Lehner was particularly sharp in overtime.

He got his glove and left pad out to stop Jonathan Marchessault, who was set up alone in front in the opening 30 seconds of overtime. Then, with 1:20 left, Lehner slid across to his right to get a piece of Tomas Tatar’s tap-in attempt.

Bailey scored in his first game since being called up from Buffalo’s AHL affiliate in Rochester to fill in for Kyle Okposo, who sustained a concussion in a 4-3 shootout win at Ottawa on Thursday.

Benoit Pouliot set up the goal by outracing Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore to a loose puck at the left boards deep in the Golden Knights’ zone. Pouliot fed Bailey, who was driving into the zone alone up the middle.

Accepting the pass on his right forehand, Bailey caught Fleury leaning the wrong way before shifting the puck to the left and slipping it into the open side while going airborne after tripping over the goalie.

Fleury was coming off a 28-save outing in a 4-0 win at Detroit on Thursday and had his shutout streak snapped at 130 minutes and 40 seconds, dating to the second period of a 4-1 loss at Columbus on Tuesday.

NOTES: Golden Knights RW Reilly Smith traveled home because of an undisclosed injury. Smith was hurt in a 4-1 loss at Columbus on Tuesday. Smith, coming off a 20-point month of February, is listed day to day, and coach Gerard Gallant said he was sent home because he wasn’t going to play a Philadelphia on Sunday. … Golden Knights D Nate Schmidt returned after missing four games with an undisclosed injury. … Golden Knights rookie RW Alex Tuch, who is from Syracuse, New York, grew up a Sabres fan and estimated he had 450 family members and friends on hand for his first game at Buffalo.

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