Lightning eliminate Bruins

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Victor Hedman scored the game-winner with 5:50 remaining in the second overtime period as the Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of their second-round series Monday night at Toronto.

Hedman put the puck past Boston goaltender Jaroslav Halak with Patrick Maroon screening in front of the net as the Lightning won their fourth straight since losing Game 1 to book their fourth trip to the conference finals in the last six seasons.

Ondrej Palat and Anthony Cirelli scored in regulation, and Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded 45 saves.

David Pastrnak and David Krejci scored for the Bruins, whose Presidents’ Trophy-winning campaign as the best team in the regular season came to a disappointing end. Halak, thrust into starting duties after Tuukka Rask opted out during the playoffs’ first round, stopped 32 shots.

The Lightning move on to face the winner of the other semifinal series between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers.

They’ll turn their attention to getting star winger Nikita Kucherov healthy after he exited Monday night with an apparent upper-body injury sustained in the first period. Kucherov returned during the second before exiting again for the remainder of the contest.

Cirelli put the Lightning up 2-1 at 12:03 of the third period on a redirect of a Hedman one-timer, but Krejci tied the score off a feed from Zdeno Chara that conveniently bounced to him off the stick of Palat with 2:33 remaining.

The Bruins had a power play for the final 1:56 of regulation but couldn’t convert.

Boston largely dominated the first overtime, outshooting Tampa Bay 11-7.

During the first period, a stumbling Chara caught Kucherov with a stick to the face after the two clicked skates at 12:48. Chara was assessed a double minor, but the Lightning failed to generate any shots on net during the power play.

At 4:21 of the second, Palat scored on a tip of a one-timer from Kevin Shattenkirk to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. The goal was Palat’s fifth in his last four games.

At 12:38, with Kucherov in the box for tripping, Pastrnak evened the score on a one-timer off a brilliant feed from Krejci. The Bruins scored on the power play in each game of the series.


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