The Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche each won their second-round Stanley Cup Playoff games on Thursday to tie their respective best-of-7 series at two wins apiece. They've assured 2019 will be the fourth consecutive year to have at least three of the four second-round series go no fewer than six games.
It's the fifth time in six years this has occurred since the division-focused format was introduced in 2014.
Ohio native Kuraly helps Bruins defeat Blue Jackets
Bruins center Sean Kuraly helped disappoint the largest crowd in Columbus Blue Jackets history. Kuraly became the first Ohio-born player to score a postseason goal against the Blue Jackets, helping Boston to a 4-1 win in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round before 19,431 fans at Nationwide Arena, the highest-attended game in Columbus history.
Center Patrice Bergeron scored twice for Boston, which evened the best-of-7 series 2-2 and hosts Game 5 on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS). The Bruins improved to 4-1 in games following a loss in this postseason.
Kuraly, who played minor hockey with the Ohio Blue Jackets and skated for Miami University, is one of 30 Ohio-born players to appear in at least one NHL game (regular season and/or playoffs). Fifteen of those players have debuted since the Blue Jackets entered the NHL in 2000.
He is the eighth Ohio-born player to score at least one goal against Columbus, joining Bryan Smolinski (eight), Peter Harrold (two), Jeff Hamilton (two), Brian Holzinger (two), Mike Rupp (one), J.T. Miller (one) and Jack Roslovic (one). However, Kuraly is the only one to do so in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. No Ohio-born player scored against the Cleveland Barons during their two seasons in the NHL (1976-77 and 1977-78). Cleveland native Ab DeMarco Jr. was the only Ohio-born player to face the Barons.
Bergeron's two power-play goals give him 93 playoff points (36 goals, 57 assists) in 123 games, moving him past Bobby Orr (92 points; 26 goals, 66 assists in 74 games) into sixth place on Boston's all-time postseason scoring list. The two goals moved him past Don Marcotte, Ken Hodge and teammate David Krejci (34 each) and into a tie with Ray Bourque for sixth in Bruins playoff history.
The Bruins are tied 2-2 in a best-of-7 series for the 34th time since entering the NHL in 1924. They have a series record of 13-3 (81.2 percent) when winning Game 5 after splitting the first four games.
Video: BOS@CBJ, Gm4: Kuraly beats Bobrovsky from doorstep
MacKinnon, Grubauer help Avalanche tie Sharks
The combination of center Nathan MacKinnon and goalie Philipp Grubauer helped the Avalanche pull even with the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Second Round. MacKinnon scored his NHL-leading third game-winning goal of the 2019 playoffs and Grubauer made 32 saves in Colorado's 3-0 win at Pepsi Center, tying the best-of-7 series 2-2. The Sharks host Game 5 at SAP Center on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
MacKinnon (six goals, seven assists) and Colorado forward Mikko Rantanen (five goals, eight assists) are tied for the scoring lead in this year's playoffs with 13 points. MacKinnon has an eight-game point streak, and his six goals are the most by an Avalanche player in the playoffs since Joe Sakic scored seven in 2004. MacKinnon is also the first Colorado player to score at least three game-winning goals in one playoff year since 2002, when Peter Forsberg (four) and Chris Drury (three) did it.
Grubauer is the fifth different Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques goalie to have a playoff shutout, but the first since Craig Anderson defeated the Sharks 1-0 in overtime in Game 3 of the 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Grubauer is also the first Germany-born goalie in NHL history to have a shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the second of German nationality to do so; Olie Kolzig had six, all with the Washington Capitals.
The Avalanche are tied 2-2 after four games in a best-of-7 series for the 21st time in Colorado/Quebec history. They have a 9-3 series record (75.0 percent) when winning Game 5 in those scenarios.
Video: MacKinnon keeps his playoff point streak going in win
Hurricanes go for sweep of Islanders
The Carolina Hurricanes will try to become the first team to clinch a berth in the conference finals when they host the New York Islanders in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at PNC Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
The Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers have never swept a best-of-7 series. Their only sweep came when the Whalers swept the Nordiques 3-0 in the best-of-5 Adams Division Semifinals in 1986.
Teams that take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-7 series have an all-time series record of 188-4 (97.9 percent). However, the Islanders are one of four teams to win a series after losing the first three games; they did it in the 1975 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Video: PNC Arena was electric in the Hurricanes Game 3 win
Blues, Stars ready for Game 5
The St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars each will try to move within one win of advancing to the conference finals when they play Game 5 in the Western Conference Second Round at Enterprise Center on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS). The Stars evened the best-of-7 series 2-2 with a 4-2 win at American Airlines Center on Wednesday.
The Blues are tied 2-2 in a best-of-7 series for the 24th time since entering the NHL in 1967. They have a 7-1 series record (87.5 percent) when winning Game 5 after splitting the first four games; the most recent came in the first round this year against the Winnipeg Jets. Their only series loss when winning Game 5 after splitting Games 1-4 came against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1996 Western Conference Semifinals.
The Stars are also tied 2-2 in a best-of-7 series for the 24th time since entering the League as the Minnesota North Stars in 1967. They have a 10-1 series when winning Game 5 in those scenarios (90.9 percent), most recently against the Nashville Predators in the first round this year. Their only series loss when winning Game 5 after splitting the first four games came against the Blues in the 1972 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.
Video: Roope Hintz shines in Stars' Game 4 win against Blues
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