Washington: Sergei Bobrovsky looked as poised facing 58 shots as he did before the game when he calmly walked down the hallway in a buttoned-up beige trench coat.
On the ice, Bobrovsky stood out even more. The goaltender with a history of play-off struggles looked like his two-time Vezina Trophy-winning self in making 54 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 on Matt Calvert’s overtime winner to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round play-off series.
“He’s our best player and he was our best player by a mile tonight,” said Calvert, whose one-handed rebound 12:22 into overtime sent the Blue Jackets into a frenzy. “It makes us confident. When you’ve got him making up for your mistakes, it’s always good. He’s been doing it all season.”
Elsewhere, Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists and Matt Murray stopped 26 shots to help Pittsburgh silence a raucous Philadelphia crowd and take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Two of the so-called fiercest rivals in the NHL have provided three lopsided games: Pittsburgh’s 7-0 win in Game 1 and Philadelphia’s 5-1 victory in Game 2 could about qualify as nail-bitters in this series.
“When we needed to, we made some good plays, we got some big saves and that’s what you need this time of year,” the three-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medal winner Crosby said.
Game 4 is on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
Crosby scored his fourth goal of the series in the first period, and Derick Brassard, Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin scored in the second to make it 4-0. Malkin and Dumoulin scored 5 seconds apart.
Justin Schultz made it 5-1 in the third on Pittsburgh’s third power-play goal of the game.
Brian Elliott, yanked in Game 1, had another rough outing and might need to borrow fellow Wells Fargo Center tenant Joel Embiid’s black mask to have a better look at the puck.
Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise scored power-play goals in the first period for the spark Minnesota was missing on the road, and the Wild used a four-goal second to roar back against Winnipeg the Western Conference series.
The Wild will try to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2 in Game 4 at home on Tuesday night.
Jordan Greenway scored his first NHL goal just 20 seconds after Eric Staal sent a wrist shot past a struggling Connor Hellebuyck, who was pulled for Steve Mason at the second intermission.
Matt Dumba and Marcus Foligno bookended the furious middle frame with goals for the Wild, who won a postseason home game for only the second time in their last nine contests. Mikko Koivu and Nick Seeler each had two assists and Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves, keeping the crowd loud all night.
Blake Wheeler and Tyler Myers scored for the Jets.
James Neal scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:37 to play, and the Vegas Golden Knights rallied from a third-period deficit to move to the brink of the expansion franchise’s first playoff series victory.
Cody Eakin tied it at 6:10 of the third, and William Karlsson scored 21 seconds after Neal’s goal to make it 3-1 in a final-period flurry for the Golden Knights, whose storybook debut season just keeps getting more exciting and more outlandish.
After opening their first postseason series with two home wins, the hockey upstarts from the desert took a 3-0 series lead by coolly winning their first road playoff game in front of an angry sell-out crowd at Staples Center, where two recent Stanley Cup banners hang above the ice.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves for the Golden Knights, who became the first team to take a 3-0 series lead in this postseason.
Alex Iafallo scored in the first period and Anze Kopitar added a tipped goal with 2:04 to play. Jonathan Quick finished with 23 saves.
Vegas will go for a sweep in Game 4 on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Blue Jackets 5 Capitals 4
Blue Jackets lead best-of-seven series 2-0
Penguins 5 Flyers 1
Penguins lead best-of-seven series 2-1
Wild 6 Jets 2
Jets lead best-of-seven series 2-1
Golden Knights 3 Kings 2
Golden Knights lead best-of-seven series 3-0
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