Islanders take commanding lead vs. Pens
Eberle scores his third goal in as many games
Jordan Eberle scored his third goal in as many games Sunday as the New York Islanders took a commanding lead in their first-round playoff series with a 4-1 win over the host Pittsburgh Penguins.
Brock Nelson, Leo Komarov and Anders Lee also scored for the Islanders, who took a 3-0 lead in the best-ofseven series. New York spotted Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead before netting four unanswered goals.
The Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017, continued to be thwarted by the Islanders’ stifling pressure and the play of goaltender Robin Lehner, who made 25 saves Sunday.
Garrett Wilson scored for Pittsburgh, which has gotten no points the series from Sidney Crosby, who had 100 points in the regular season, or his linemate, 40-goal scorer Jake Guentzel.
Goaltender Matt Murray stopped 32 New York shots.
The Islanders hold an 11-5 goals edge in the series.
Jackets top Lightning
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves to lead Columbus to a 3-1 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, lifting the Blue Jackets to a commanding 3-0 lead in their opening-round playoff series.
Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist, and Matt Duchene and Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied for the Blue Jackets, who have won 10 of their last 11 games, including seven of eight to close the regular season and earn the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Bobrovsky stopped 16 shots by Tampa Bay in the third period, as it tried to rally from a 2-0 deficit but couldn’t do so in front of a raucous crowd at Nationwide Arena.
Ondrej Palat scored a goal, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the Lightning, who dropped their third straight game for the first time this season and have lost five consecutive playoff games.
Jets blow by Blues
The Blue Jackets can close out the series against the Presidents’ Trophywinning club in Game 4 in Columbus on Tuesday.
Second-period goals four minutes apart by Kevin Hayes, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor sent the Winnipeg Jets off and running to a 6-3 road victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night, pulling them right back into the opening-round playoff series.
Having lost the first two games at home, the Jets would be facing long odds if they also dropped Game 3, but they instead roared to a victory that leaves them down 2-1 in the best-ofseven Stanley Cup playoffs series.
Off the ice
• Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri has been offered an in-person hearing by the NHL Department of Player Safety following a major penalty assessed Saturday in Game 2 of a first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins. That’s a signal that Kadri, 28, could be facing a long suspension. With 5:57 left in the game, which the Bruins won 4-1, Kadri was penalized for cross-checking Boston forward Jake DeBrusk. According to the NHL.com, the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement calls for a player to be offered an in-person hearing if he faces a suspension of six games or more.
• The Colorado Avalanche signed 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner Cale Makar to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Sunday The 20-year-old defenseman from the University of Massachusetts will join the Avalanche immediately for their first-round playoff series against the Calgary Flames. Makar, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, just completed his sophomore season, helping the Minutemen reach the NCAA Frozen Four title game in Buffalo.
• Nikita Gusev, the reigning MVP of the Kontinental Hockey League, is joining the Vegas Golden Knights for their playoff run. He signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Golden Knights on Sunday and is expected to practice with the team on Monday.