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Montreal Canadiens avoid elimination with Game 5 victory over Philadelphia Flyers

Montreal's Brendan Gallagher snapped his goal-scoring drought by beating Flyers goalie Carter Hart.Elsa/Getty

Nick Suzuki buried the winner 22 seconds after Philadelphia tied it in the third period, Brendan Gallagher snapped a goal drought, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Flyers, 5-3, on Wednesday night in Game 5 to stave off elimination in the first-round playoff series in Toronto.

Joel Armia scored twice for the Canadiens, Phillip Danualt sealed it into an empty net, and Carey Price made 26 saves. Brett Kulak and Jonathan Drouin each had two assists, and Suzuki also had a helper.

Game 6 is Friday.

Jakub Voracek scored twice for the Flyers — both on a five-minute power play in the second period — and added an assist. Joel Farabee had the other goal. Carter Hart, coming off back-to-back shutouts, made 28 saves.

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After the Flyers tied it at 3 on Farabee’s power-play redirection with 9:43 left, Suzuki took Drouin’s pass from behind the Philadelphia net on the next shift and outwaited Hart to score.

Philadelphia got a power play seven minutes into the third, but Price snagged Claude Giroux’s shot through a screen. Kevin Hayes then had a partial break, leading to a tripping call and Farabee’s goal that briefly drew the Flyers level before Suzuki responded.

Montreal led, 1-0, after the first period on the heels of getting shut out, 1-0, on Sunday in Game 3 and ,2-0, on Tuesday in Game 4, but suffered a big blow early in the second when Jesperi Kotkaniemi was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for boarding on Philadelphia defenseman Travis Sanheim.

The 20-year-old center initially went to the penalty box but, after the referees reviewed the play, Kotkaniemi was booted from the game just 1:45 into the period.

Philadelphia made the Canadiens pay 50 seconds later when Voracek’s shot struck the stick of Montreal’s Ben Chiarot and beat Price. The Flyers took their first lead at 6:37 with eight seconds left on the same advantage when Voracek’s pass in front went off Chiarot’s skate and slid over the goal line.

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Armia scored his second of the night at 10:12 to tie it at 2.

That set the table for Gallagher on the power play after Philadelphia’s Philippe Myers got a double-minor for high-sticking. Suzuki feathered an aerial pass to the winger down low, and he batted home his first out of mid-air before looking skyward in relief at 11:30. Gallagher, who scored on his league-leading 37th shot of the restart, snapped a personal nine-game postseason scoring slump dating to 2017.

Suzuki then beat Hart off the rush for a goal that looked to have made it 4-2 with 5:26 left in the period, but the sequence was correctly challenged for offside with Drouin into the offensive zone a step early.

Flyers coach Alain Vigneault was about to give Hart the hook in favor of Brian Elliott for the second time in the series before the call was reversed.

The 22-year-old Hart, who became the second-youngest goalie in NHL history with consecutive playoff shutouts, saw his streak end at 122 minutes, 53 seconds, while Montreal’s goal drought was snapped at 132:18.

Lightning 5, Blue Jackets 4 — Tampa Bay eliminated Columbus in five games on Wednesday, rallying from a two-goal, third-period deficit before beating the Blue Jackets on Brayden Point’s goal 5:12 into overtime in Toronto.

Point also delivered the winner in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series, a five-overtime thriller that wound up being the fourth-longest game in NHL history.

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Kevin Shattenkirk and Anthony Cirelli scored in the final eight minutes of regulation to wipe out a 4-2 deficit. Earlier, Columbus scored four consecutive times to overcome an early two-goal deficit of its own.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 37 of 41 shots for Tampa Bay, which was swept from the first round by the Blue Jackets last season.

Coliumbus' Vladislav Gavrikov and Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy shake hands after the Lightning's 5-4 overtime victory Wednesday.Elsa/Getty

“We had 422 days to think about it, but who’s counting,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who insisted heading into the series that redemption was not his team’s mission because both clubs have changed since last season.

“We want to advance regardless of who we’re playing,” added Cooper. “It just turned out we got a second chance, and often times you don’t get that.”

Joonas Korpisalo had 20 saves for Columbus. Point took a pass from Nikita Kucherov in the slot before backhanding the game-winner past the Blue Jackets goaltender.

“Once we went down by two goals ... everybody still had the confidence we could get it done,” Shattenkirk said.

Tyler Johnson and Blake Coleman scored within a 61-second span to give the Lightning an early 2-0 lead that Columbus answered with goals by captain Nick Foligno, playoff newcomer Kevin Stenlund, and Alexander Wennberg, who put the Blue Jackets ahead, 3-2, with 15.8 seconds remaining in the second period.

Oliver Bjorkstrand’s third goal of the series made it 4-2 early in the third. Tampa Bay rallied, with Shattenkirk beating Korpisalo from the top of the right circle and the Lightning pulling even when the puck glanced off Cirelli’s left skate into the net with 1:38 remaining in regulation.

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“They’re just an opportunistic team,” Foligno said.

“I thought for the most we played a really, really good game, dictated the whole play, had a lot of chances, guys were feeling it,” Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson said.

“But they’re just a team that if you take your foot off the gas pedal they are going to get their chances,” Atkinson added, “and they’re going to capitalize.”

All five games were decided by one goal.

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella didn't take solace in playing the Lightning close.

“You know what guys, I’m not going to get into the touchy-feely stuff and the moral victories and all that,” Tortorella said before ending his postgame interview session. “You guys be safe.”

Avalanche 7, Coyotes 1 — Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and two assists, Nazem Kadri also scored twice, and Colorado routed Arizona to close out the first-round playoff series in five games in Edmonton, Alberta.

Colorado, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, took control of the series with a Game 4 blowout and skated into the next round with three first-period goals in Game 5.

Colorado's Philipp Grubauer and Nathan MacKinnon celebrate their victory over Arizona Wednesday.Jeff Vinnick/Getty

Kadri scored two goals for the second straight game, both in the first period, and finished with five in the series. Samuel Girard also had a goal in the first and MacKinnon scored twice in 58 seconds of the second to put Colorado up, 5-0.

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J.T. Compher had a goal and an assist, Nikita Zadorov also scored, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 23 shots to clinch the series, 4-1.

Clayton Keller scored his fourth goal of the postseason for Arizona and Darcy Kuemper allowed six goals on 30 shots before being replaced by Antti Raanta in the third period.