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Craig Smith scores in OT as Predators tie series with Stars

Nashville Predators right wing Craig Smith celebrates after scoring the winning goal in overtime Saturday night.Mark Humphrey/AP/Associated Press

Craig Smith scored five minutes into overtime to give the Predators a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night in Nashville, tying the first-round Western Conference series at 1-1.

Smith scored his first this postseason from the inside edge of the left circle to snap a three-game playoff skid on home ice for the Predators.

Rocco Grimaldi also scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne made 22 saves. The Predators had lost five of their last six postseason games in the place they call Smashville.

Jamie Benn scored for Dallas The Stars were outshot, 43-23.

Game 3 is Monday night in Dallas.


The teams went to overtime twice during their five-game series during the regular season, and Dallas won the opener, 3-2. So it was no surprise they went past regulation yet again.

The Stars went 0 for 6 on the man advantage after being the NHL’s 11th-best on the power play during the regular season.

Dallas came in trying to join both St. Louis and Columbus as road teams taking a 2-0 advantage back home.

The teams fought to the first scoreless period of this young series to open this game, though the Predators killed a four-minute penalty on a double minor to Mattias Ekholm and outshot Dallas 15-9.

Dallas took the lead at 1:59 of the second when Tyler Seguin got the puck off a turnover, passed to Benn at the side of the net for the captain’s first goal this postseason. Stars center Mattias Janmark went straight to the locker room after a collision with Predators’ defenseman Dan Hamhuis into the boards. Janmark was down for a couple minutes before being helped off the ice at 3:10.

Nashville tied it at 3:56, with Grimaldi scoring over Ben Bishop’s glove from right in front off a pass from Austin Watson.


It was the first postseason goal in Grimaldi’s third career playoff game and first with Nashville, and he was in the lineup only because forward Brian Boyle is day to day with an illness.

The Predators also lost forward Wayne Simmonds in the first period after he took a one-timer from teammate Roman Josi off the inside of his left knee. He later tested his leg taking a lap during a TV timeout before going back to the locker room.

In the third, Rinne smothered a shot from Seguin off a pass from Alexander Radulov in the opening minutes. Stars center Jason Dickinson hit the top right corner of the post 5:24 in.

Capitals 4, Hurricanes 3 — Brooks Orpik scored less than two minutes into overtime, Alex Ovechkin had two assists, and the Washington Capitals beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3, on Saturday to give the defending Stanley Cup champions a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round best-of-seven series.

The tone was set for a wacky afternoon when a rat fell out of the ceiling during the Hurricanes’ pregame soccer match. The weird vibes lasted long after the dead rat was removed — from a questionable ejection for a check to the head to a shot off one goalie’s mask and another that went in off the other goalie’s backside.

Ovechkin assisted on goals by Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson to help put Washington up two games to none in a series for just the third time in the past five years. In perhaps his final NHL postseason, Orpik scored 1:48 into the extra period of the Capitals’ first overtime playoff game since they eliminated Pittsburgh in the second round a year ago.


Braden Holtby stopped 25 shots, and T.J. Oshie also scored. Holtby allowed goals to Lucas Wallmark, Sebastian Aho, and Jordan Staal, the last on a Carolina power play with 5 minutes left in regulation.

Carolina goaltender Petr Mrazek rebounded from an inconsistent Game 1 to make 29 saves. He robbed Wilson with a glove stop with 1:37 left and made a left pad save on John Carlson in the final seconds of the third period to get it to overtime.

Just like Game 1, the Capitals jumped out to an early lead when Alex Ovechkin found Backstrom wide open for a tap-in 3:37 in. They made it 2-0 midway through the first period when Oshie drove past Justin Williams and Justin Faulk and lifted a backhander over Mrazek — kicking the stick out of Williams’ hands for good measure.

Unlike Game 1, the Hurricanes didn’t wait until the third period to begin their comeback. Wallmark deflected Jaccob Slavin’s shot past Holtby, who was spun around on some skate-to-skate contact by Carolina’s Saku Maenalanen. Capitals coach Todd Reirden challenged for goaltender interference, but the referees and NHL situation room deemed the contact outside the crease not to be significant enough to disallow the goal.

Things only got stranger in the second period. Less than a minute after exiting the penalty box, Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland hit Nic Dowd while bent over and was given a five-minute match penalty for an illegal check to the head and ejected.


After officials conferred and decided to make it a five-minute major, coach Rod Brind'Amour screamed at referee Steve Kozari that it was a clean hit, pointing to his hip to emphasize Ferland made mostly hip to shoulder contact. Dowd left to go through concussion protocol but returned.

During the ensuing power play, a one-timer from Carlson hit Mrazek on the right side of his mask and knocked it off. Mrazek appeared to take a puck to the face and winced in pain but did not get pulled for concussion protocol and stayed in the game.

Mrazek made seven saves on the penalty kill of Ferland’s major, which was cut short with 51 seconds remaining by a hooking penalty on Oshie. When Dowd high-sticked Dougie Hamilton, the Hurricanes got 1:07 of 5-on-3 power-play time but were thwarted by Holtby.

It took an unpredictable bounce for Carolina to tie it. After the puck deflected off the end wall, Aho banked it off Holtby’s backside and in to end a 15-game goal drought dating to March 9.

Ovechkin carried the puck up ice and fed Wilson for the go-ahead goal with 11:05 left. But the Capitals’ lead only lasted six minutes because with Dowd back in the box for high-sticking, Staal deflected Hamilton’s shot past Holtby for Carolina’s first power-play goal in the series.


Evgeny Kuznetsov found Orpik in the left faceoff circle for the winner. It’s his fourth goal in 151 playoff games but his third game-winner.

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Mark Stone scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play created by a penalty that negated an apparent San Jose goal and the visiting Vegas Golden Knights responded after blowing a three-goal lead in the first period to beat the Sharks, 5-3, on Friday night to tie their Western Conference first-round playoff series at one game apiece.

The teams packed an entire game into the opening minutes with the Golden Knights scoring three goals in the first 6:11 and the Sharks rallying for three more in the final 3:01 to become the first team in NHL history to tie a playoff game in the first period after falling behind 3-0.

Stone converted from the slot after a scramble for his third goal of the series and Vegas held on from there, thanks in part to 34 saves from Fleury.

Cody Eakin, Colin Miller, and Max Pacioretty all scored in the first period to stake the Golden Knights to the big lead. William Karlsson added a short-handed goal in the third to ice it.

Game 3 will be Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, and Joe Thornton scored for the Sharks, who pulled goalie Martin Jones (three goals allowed on seven shots) for Aaron Dell.

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Oskar Sundqvist scored twice to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 win over the host Winnipeg Jets on Friday night in Game 2 of their Western Conference opening-round playoff series.

Pat Maroon and Ryan O'Reilly also scored for the Blues, who have a 2-0 series lead and host Game 3 on Sunday. Rookie Jordan Binnington made 26 saves.

Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and one assist for the Jets, Patrik Laine also scored and Dustin Byfuglien had a pair of assists. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 shots.

O'Reilly gave the Blues the 4-3 lead at 3:46 of the third when he used Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot as a screen to beat Hellebuyck on the blocker side. It was his first playoff goal since 2014, when he was with Colorado.