NEW YORK: Left winger Max Pacioretty scored with 42.6 seconds remaining in the third period as the Montreal Canadiens completed their first play-off series sweep in 21 years with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Pacioretty pushed Thomas Vanek’s shot between Lightning goalie Kristers Gudlevskis’s pads to advance Montreal to the second round of the playoffs, where they will face either Boston or Detroit.
The 4-0 win in the best-of-seven series marks the first time the Canadiens have reached the second round since 2010.
Tampa Bay defenceman Victor Hedman and centre Tyler Johnson scored 3:02 apart early in the third period to draw the Lightning level at 3-3 but the visitors were unable to add to the tally and suffered a third one-goal defeat of the series.
Also yesterday, goaltender Tuuka Rask made 22 saves for his fourth career playoff shutout and the Boston Bruins blanked the Detroit Red Wings to seize a 2-1 lead in the first round play-off series.
Centre Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and added an assist and defenceman Dougie Hamilton and right winger Jordan Caron also scored for Boston, the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard stopped 31 shots in the loss.
The Red Wings have only scored two goals in the series, winning Game One 1-0 before losing Game Two 4-1.
Yesterday, the Bruins outshot Detroit 33-23 as they appear to be wrestling back control of the series.
Game Four is in Detroit today with the eventual winners advancing to meet Montreal in the next round. REUTERS