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, Fla. (AP) Tuukka Rask and the stubborn Boston Bruins stymied the Tampa Bay Lightning – and got even closer in the standings.Rask stopped 23 shots to hand Tampa Bay its first shutout of the season and lifted the Bruins over the Lightning 3-0 on Saturday night.It was Rask’s third shutout of the season and 41st of his career. It was also the first time the Lightning failed to score a goal since a 4-0 loss at Boston on April 4, 2017 – also against Rask.”It’s playoff hockey,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said, ”and I thought we were better at it than they were tonight.”David Pastrnak, David Backes and Riley Nash all scored for Boston, which moved within two points of the Lightning for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with one game in hand. Torey Krug assisted on all three of the Bruins’ goals.But the Bruins hope the win didn’t come at a high cost.The Bruins played the final two periods without Backes, who left following a scary incident late in the first period. As Backes tumbled to the ice and fell into the crease area, the back of Yanni Gourde’s skate appeared to make contact just below Backes’ right knee. Backes immediately grabbed his leg. As he was making his way to the Boston bench, blood appeared to seep through his pants as he was rushed back to the locker room.The Bruins reported that Backes was resting after suffering a laceration on his knee that required approximately 18 stitches to close. Cassidy reported there was no structural damage.”I think the concern is probably when you have those deep cuts is infection, so that’s usually a couple of days to see how it heals up,” Cassidy said. ”I don’t want to say he dodged a bullet because it’s an unfortunate accident
, but it looks like he’ll be OK.”Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 24 shots for the Lightning, whose last shutout at home came on March 16, 2017, by Toronto’s Frederik Andersen. Tampa Bay has lost consecutive games for the first time since going 9-0-1 in the previous 10 games.”Now is the time when you really have to look yourself in the mirror and really push yourself and hammer down on the details,” Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said. ”We have to step up, we have to work. That was a good test. We got outplayed and now we have to raise the bar.”Pastrnak opened the scoring with his 28th goal of the season, getting a step ahead of Mikhail Sergachev coming down the slot to take a pass from Krug and slip a backhander past Vasilevskiy 3:07 in to the game.Backes scored his 12th off a rebound in front for the first of two Boston power-play goals on the night.Nash increased the lead to 3-0 in the second period with his 14th of the season.”We’ve been talking about trying to get back to our identity and playing solid defense and finding our offense through that,” Rask said. ”Today we shut it down, came back hard and played solid, solid defense and scored three goals.”NOTES: Tampa Bay recalled G Louis Domingue from Syracuse of the American Hockey League before the game and he dressed as the backup. … Boston improved to 32-0-3 this season when holding a two-goal lead at any point in the game. … The Lightning have allowed five power-play goals in the past three games and at least one power-play goal in 11 of the past 12. … Boston D Zdeno Chara missed his second consecutive game with an unspecified upper-body injury.UP NEXT:Lightning: Host Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.Bruins: Host Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) The Florida Panthers are on a roll.Aleksander Barkov scored two goals to lift the Panthers to a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.Maxim Mamin scored his second NHL goal and Robert Luongo made 29 saves as the Panthers recorded their fourth straight win.The Panthers have successive victories over Washington
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, Pittsburgh, Toronto and New Jersey.”We beat four good teams in a row here. It’s been close games and finding ways to win in the third period,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said.Each of the games were decided by a one-goal margin and the winning goal coming late in the third period or overtime (Toronto).”Going into the third, no matter what the score is, we’re confident we’ll come out with the win, and we’ve played our best in the third period, it seems,” Luongo said. ”That’s a good quality to have.”The Panthers finish their season-long six-game homestand with games against Buffalo on Friday and Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon”We have to make sure there’s no let down and the foot is on the gas pedal,” Boughner said. ”We talked about playing good and waking up Monday morning and finding yourself in a really good spot.”Jesper Bratt and Taylor Hall scored for the Devils, and Patrick Maroon had two assists. Cory Schneider stopped 26 shots in his first start since missing 16 games with a lower-body injury.”It felt good to play again and it’s a fun time of year to play,” Schneider said. ”It’s too bad we didn’t get any points out of this.”Barkov’s second goal stretched the Panthers lead to 3-1 with 3:34 left in the third. Barkov lifted the puck over Schneider and into the net.”We still have 20 games left
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,” Barkov said. ”All that matters is winning, and I’m glad I’ve been helping the team with scoring goals and assisting on them.”Bratt’s goal closed the score to 3-2 with 2:07 left in the third. The goal was Bratt’s first since Jan. 20 against Philadelphia, a span of 19 games.”It’s tough not to get two points but for myself it’s nice to get a goal after a long time,” Bratt said.Mamin gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead on his flukey goal at 8:38 of the third period. Mamin grabbed a long cross-ice pass from Jared McCann and flipped the puck up at the net as he skated past on the right side. The puck bounced off Schneider’s back and rolled into the net.Hall tied the score 1-all on a power-play goal 50 seconds into the second period. Hall’s shot from the top of the right circle was inadvertently redirected into the net off the stick of Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad.Hall has 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in a 16-game point streak, the longest in the NHL this season and the longest in Devils history and has a point in 23 consecutive appearances.Hall wasn’t in a celebratory mood after the loss when asked what the record means to him.”Not much. I wasn’t very good tonight,” he said. ”My goal was a deflection.”The Panthers took a 1-0 lead after Barkov took a shot from the left side that bounced off Schneider’s pad and out into the crease. The puck then went off the left skate of New Jersey’s Nico Hischier and into the net as he collided with both Florida’s Nick Bjugstad and Schneider in the crease at 6:51 of the first. The goal survived a coach’s challenge of goaltender interference. Barkov has a career-high 60 points.NOTES: Schneider’s last start for the Devils was Jan. 23 at Boston. … Devils forward Patrick Maroon made his first appearance since being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 26. … Barkov has 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in his past 12 games.UP NEXTDevils: Visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.Panthers: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.