Panthers score 4 goals in 3rd period, double up Bruins to even series

Brandon Montour scored twice and the visiting Florida Panthers had four third-period goals to beat the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins 6-3 on Wednesday night and send Boston to its first loss in 10 games.

The Panthers — the NHL’s top regular-season team last season — tied the best-of-seven series and head home for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday. There will be a Game 5 back in Boston on Wednesday.

Montour scored 22 seconds into the third period to break a 2-2 tie, Carter Verhaeghe added an insurance goal, then Montour scored again for Florida and Eetu Luostarinen added an empty netter with 2:25 to play to make it 6-2.

Alex Lyon stopped 34 shots, and Sam Bennett and Eric Staal also scored for the Panthers, who seemed overmatched by the NHL-best Bruins in a 3-1 series-opening loss.

Brad Marchand scored a short-handed goal, and Tyler Bertuzzi and Taylor Hall also scored for the Bruins, who won their last eight — and 15 of their last 16 — regular-season games while setting NHL records with 65 wins and 135 points. Linus Ullmark made 24 saves.

Bennett, who missed the opener with an undisclosed injury, took advantage of a turnover by Bruins defenceman Brandon Carlo in the Boston zone. Matthew Tkachuk kept it in, and slid it ahead to Bennett, who reached out to corral it and then extended to poke it between Ullmark’s pads.

But the Panthers had an even worse turnover with a man advantage, when Anthony Duclair gave it right to Marchand for the short-handed goal that made it 1-1. Two minutes later, the Panthers were back in the lead when Staal beat Ullmark, but Boston made it 2-2 just as a power play was expiring on Dmitry Orlov’s shot that went in off Bertuzzi’s skate.

Fast lifts Hurricanes over Islanders in OT

Jesper Fast took a cross-ice pass from Jordan Staal and buried it past Ilya Sorokin at 5:03 of overtime to lift the Carolina Hurricanes past the visiting New York Islanders 4-3 on Wednesday night, taking a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Staal’s pass came from the left side near the boards and found Fast loose on the right for the finish over Sorokin’s pad, ending a game that had seen Carolina blow a two-goal lead before rallying to force overtime.

Paul Stastny, Stefan Noesen and Jaccob Slavin also scored for the Hurricanes, while Antti Raanta had 23 saves.

Kyle Palmieri, Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders, and Sorokin finished with 32 saves.

The Hurricanes took the series opener Monday night, scoring twice with the man advantage — their first multi-goal game on the power play since early March — before the teams shared a scoreless 37-minute grind to the horn in Carolina’s 2-1 win.

This time, Carolina grabbed an early lead on Stastny’s deflection from the top of the crease then pushed ahead 2-0 on a bouncing own-goal off the stick of the Islanders’ Sebastian Aho, coming off Noesen’s dump-in on a power play.

Yet the Islanders responded with three straight goals, including Barzal — who missed the last 23 regular-season games with a lower-body injury — converting a bad open-ice turnover from Brady Skjei by turning around Brett Pesce and whipping the puck past Raanta in the final minute of the second.

Nelson made it 3-2 when he took a pass ahead from Palmieri, got past Martin Necas and beat Raanta from the left side at 9:18 of the third. Slavin answered from a steep left-corner angle roughly three minutes later, bouncing the puck off the right side of Sorokin’s helmet and inside the far post to ultimately send it to overtime.

The series shifts to New York for two games, starting with Game 3 on Friday.

Hintz scores hat trick as Stars get even with Wild

Roope Hintz scored a short-hander on Dallas’ first shot and added two more goals after that, Evgenii Dadonov scored twice and the Stars beat the visiting Minnesota Wild 7-3 on Wednesday night to even the first-round series at a game each.

Dadonov and Hintz each scored their second goals of the game in a 48-second span late in the second period for a 6-3 lead. That was the last of three pairs of quick scoring goals in that middle period — two by the Stars that sandwiched an even-quicker scoring duo by the Wild.

Hintz, who also had an assist, secured his first career hat trick with a power-play goal with just under eight minutes left, when Miro Heiskanen got his fourth assist of the game. Hintz is the first player with a short-handed, power-play and even-strength goal in a playoff game since Tyler Johnson did it for Tampa Bay against the New York Rangers in 2015.

The Dallas scoring onslaught came against three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who got the start even after 24-year-old Filip Gustavsson made his playoff debut with a franchise-record 51 saves in the series opener the Wild won 3-2 in double overtime.

Game 3 is Friday night in Minnesota.

Benn had his goal and an assist on Dadonov’s first score in an 87-second span that put the Stars up 4-1 and ignite the six-goal middle period.

Minnesota’s two goals in quick succession were Marcus Johansson’s short backhander on a power play, 11 seconds before Frederick Gaudreau had a similar shot past Jake Oettinger to get the Wild within one.

Oettinger, the 24-year-old who wears No. 29 after growing up a fan of Fleury, stopped 23 shots.

The 38-year-old Fleury had 24 saves in his 168th career playoff game. He had been 8-3-1 over his final 12 starts of the regular season.

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