Posts Tagged ‘Game 4’

The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the Bay with home-court advantage again.

Despite playing through a foot issue, Stephen Curry poured in a game-high 43 points as the Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics 107-97 at TD Garden to take Game 4 and tie the Finals at two games apiece.

Golden State’s Klay Thompson contributed 18 points on 4-of-10 shooting from deep. Andrew Wiggins grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with 17 points.

“Been here six times, you got a lot of experience in terms of staying composed, confident, what you can do, the endurance to be able to fight through the foot and just play my game for how many minutes I’m out there,” Curry told ESPN’s Lisa Salters in regards to the injury he suffered in Game 3.

“I’m just thankful for everybody on our team because we brought a lot of toughness tonight and physicality to get off to a better start, which allowed us to stay in the game and then go win it at the end.”

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 23 points while adding 11 rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and one steal. Jaylen Brown recorded 21 points and six rebounds.

Curry scored 14 points in the third quarter alone and finished the night shooting 14-of-26 from the floor, including 7-of-14 on threes. He also registered 10 rebounds and four assists. Golden State outscored Boston 30-24 in the third frame after trailing 54-49 at the half.

“Just stunning,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said postgame about Curry’s performance, courtesy of NBC Sports. “The physicality out there is pretty dramatic. Boston’s got, obviously, (the) best defense in the league. Huge and powerful at every position.

“For Steph to take that kind of pressure all game long and then still be able to defend at the other end when they’re coming at him … I think this is the strongest physically he’s ever been in his career, and it’s allowing him to do what he’s doing.”

Thompson believes Curry’s effort may have been his greatest on the Finals stage to date.

“I think probably number one,” Thompson said of where he’d rank Curry’s Game 4 outing among his Finals performances. “I mean this was nearly a must-win game and to go out there and shoot as efficiently as he did, oh and grab 10 rebounds. … I mean his conditioning is second to none in this league.”

Warriors forward Draymond Green scored just two points for the second consecutive game. However, the veteran filled the stat sheet elsewhere with nine rebounds, eight assists, and four steals. Kerr pulled Green from the floor with 7:32 left in the fourth, but he returned with 3:41 remaining as part of an offense-defense tandem with Jordan Poole.

Both teams return to Golden State for Game 5 Monday. One team will have the opportunity to clinch the title back in Boston for Thursday’s Game 6.

The Tampa Bay Lightning delivered on a promise to play with a greater sense of urgency, storming back in the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers and keeping their bid for a third straight Stanley Cup title alive.

Nikita Kucherov scored on a breakaway and Andrei Vasilevskiy had 33 saves Tuesday night, helping the two-time defending NHL champions shut down the Rangers 4-1 and even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

“We’ve got ourselves squared up in this series. It’s great, much better than the position we were in a couple days ago. But this is where it gets down to the really tough stuff,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said.

“These next couple of games, we have to go on the road and we have to find a way to win a game in their barn,” Stamkos added. “We’re looking forward to that challenge, but I really like where our game is now compared to where it was a couple days ago.”

Kucherov took a pass from Ondrej Palat in the middle of the ice and skated in on goaltender Igor Shesterkin to give the Lightning a two-goal lead just over 13 minutes into the second period.

With Vasilevskiy back on his game following a slow start to the series, that turned out to be more than enough offensive support to hold off a Rangers team that’s suddenly found it difficult to score.

“They did a great job in the neutral zone. They collapsed pretty good in the ‘D’ zone. They blocked a lot of shots. They did the right things to win a hockey game,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of the Lightning.

Stamkos, Palat and Pat Maroon had goals for Tampa Bay, which has rebounded from losing the first two games of the series on the road to bolster its chances of becoming the first team in nearly 40 years to win three consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

Game 5 is Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers won Games 1 and 2 and are 8-1 this postseason.

“We’ve done a good job at home. I think if you look around the league a lot of teams play better in their home building,” Gallant said.

“I’m disappointed tonight. I’m sure (the players) are,” the coach added. “But it’s a best two out of three, we still have the home-ice advantage, so we have to make sure we’re ready for the next game. The next one is big.”

Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of 30 shots to win Game 3 and was even better Tuesday night, when he extended a stretch in which he did not give up a goal to nearly 67 minutes before New York’s Artemi Panarin scored on the power play at 16:27 of the third period.

Until Vasilevskiy’s bid for a shutout ended, the Rangers hadn’t scored since Chris Kreider’s power-play goal put them up 2-0 at 9:44 of the second period in Game 3.

It has been all Tampa Bay since then, with Kucherov and Stamkos scoring to wipe out the Game 3 deficit before Palat won it in the final minute.

The defending champs started faster Tuesday night, scoring on Maroon’s rebound just 2:38 into the game.

It was the third goal of the playoffs for Maroon, a 34-year-old, fourth-line forward who’s chasing a fourth consecutive Stanley Cup title after winning with St. Louis in 2019 and signing with Tampa Bay before the following season.

Stamkos’ goal built the lead to 3-0 early in the third period. Palat added an empty-netter with 8.7 seconds remaining, finishing with a goal and two assists.

Shesterkin, who faced 51 shots in Game 3, stopped 27 of 30 shots Tuesday night.

“We’ve progressively gotten better, and I think we took some more positive steps tonight,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We had a bit of a layoff, and I think now we’re starting to find our game. Now, we just have to keep this going in New York.”

NOTES: The Rangers played without forward Ryan Strome (lower body), who was scratched after skating in pregame warmups. He was injured Sunday, when he exited in the second period after only playing a little over seven minutes. … New York forward Filip Chytil left just past the midpoint of the second period after a hit by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. He missed the rest of the game with an upper-body injury. … The Lightning played for the seventh straight game without forward Brayden Point, who has been out of the lineup since suffering a lower-body injury during Game 7 of Tampa Bay’s first-round victory over Toronto.

The Colorado Avalanche are off to the Stanley Cup Final after completing a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers with a 6-5 overtime win Monday night.

Artturi Lehkonen scored the goal that sent Colorado to its first final since 2001. Remarkably, it’s the second year in a row Lehkonen’s been the hero in Round 3. He scored the overtime winner as a member of the Montreal Canadiens to send the Habs to the championship series last spring.

“I’d trade 10 first-rounders for him right now,” teammate Nathan MacKinnon said of Lehkonen, who Colorado acquired at the trade deadline in March.

Monday’s contest was an instant classic. Cale Makar opened the scoring in the first period, but the Oilers answered back with three consecutive goals in the middle frame.

Chaos ensued in the third, as the teams combined for six tallies. Mikko Rantanen put the Avalanche up 5-4 with just over five minutes to go, but Zack Kassian answered back less than two minutes later to send the high-octane contest to overtime.

Lehkonen’s winner came at 1:19 of the extra stanza.

Colorado will now await the winner of the New York Rangers-Tampa Bay Lightning series, which New York currently leads 2-1.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has suffered through plenty of heartache in Edmonton.

The top pick at the 2011 draft missed the playoffs in seven of his first eight NHL seasons as the Oilers repeatedly fumbled and bumbled their way through what must have felt like a never-ending rebuild.

After a stunning turn of events midway through the third period on Tuesday night, Nugent-Hopkins rose to the occasion when he was needed most.

Nugent-Hopkins scored his second goal of the game with 3:27 left in regulation, and the Oilers beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 to take a 3-1 lead in the second-round playoff series.

“The main thing was that we had to keep pushing,” Nugent-Hopkins said after Rasmus Andersson scored short-handed from 150 feet away as Calgary rallied all the way back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game. “Stuff like that happens, it’s hockey. Bounces happen.

“There was no quit.”

Edmonton interim head coach Jay Woodcroft credited Nugent-Hopkins, who was playing just the 32nd playoff game of his 11-season career, for stepping up with the team wobbling.

“It’s inspiring,” said Woodcroft, whose Oilers are now one win from making the Western Conference final for the first time since 2006. “There’s room for greatness from everybody on our team.

“Tonight was Ryan’s moment.”

Evander Kane scored his NHL-leading 11th and 12th goals of the postseason, and Zach Hyman added a goal for Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl added three assists and Mike Smith made 29 saves.

Connor McDavid also had two assists. He has 25 points in 11 playoff games for the Oilers, who earned a third straight victory over their provincial rival.

Andersson, Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary. Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.

“We all believe in this group,” Andersson said. “We’ve been a good team all year and we’ve been strong on home ice. We’ve just got to go home and focus on winning one game and take it from there.

“Obviously we’re in a tough situation.”

Calgary will look to stave off elimination on Thursday at home in Game 5.

After trailing 3-0 after the first period and 3-2 through two periods, Calgary tied the game in the third on an Edmonton power play when Andersson fired a 150-foot clearing attempt from his own end that somehow fooled Smith at 10:56.

With the Oilers wavering, Nugent-Hopkins poked in his fourth goal of the playoffs from in front of Markstrom.

Andersson then took a four-minute penalty for high-sticking with 2:40 left to effectively kill off the game before Kane iced it by scoring into an empty net.

“I can laugh now, right?” a relieved Smith said. “I don’t think there’s been a time in my career where I’ve lost the puck, where I have no idea where it went.

“You don’t want that to happen … ever. It was an unbelievable goal by Nuge at the end there … a win is a win.”

Edmonton also held a 2-1 series lead in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings only to play what the Oilers described as their worst performance of the month in a 4-0 loss. This time, they took a stranglehold on the series without their best effort.

“Every game you play in the playoffs, you gain experience,” Smith said. “There are ebbs and flows to a game, to a series, and they are all learning experiences.”

Markstrom, who had allowed 14 goals in the series before getting pulled after two periods with Calgary trailing Sunday’s Game 3 by a 4-0 score, played the puck behind his own net on the first shift, but put it right on Nugent-Hopkins’ stick. He scored his third.

The goal was the third-fastest in Oilers’ playoff history, just short of McDavid (19 seconds in 2020) and Fernando Pisani (16 seconds in 2006).

One of three finalists for the Vézina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie, Markstrom recovered to deny Darnell Nurse on a chance a couple minutes later before Smith was at full stretch on a Johnny Gaudreau one-time chance.

Calgary winger Tyler Toffoli then took a tripping penalty and the Oilers made the Flames pay when Hyman outmuscled a hobbled Chris Tanev — back in the lineup for the first time since Game 6 of the opening round despite a suspected upper-body injury — in tight, scoring his fifth goal of the series and seventh of the playoffs at 9:53.

The Flames, who topped the Pacific Division in the regular season, pushed back with a couple of decent shifts, but Kane, who was coming off a natural hat trick in Game 3, made it 3-0 with 66 seconds remaining in the period on a shot that nicked blueliner Nikita Zadorov.

Calgary showed some life on the power play in the second with Kane off for slashing. Lindholm eventually picked the top corner for his fifth goal at 9:04 after the Oilers twice failed to clear the defensive zone.

Backlund got the Flames within one at 3-2 just 36 seconds later when he stepped past Duncan Keith and fired his fourth past Smith.

Smith made a good stop on a Lindholm power-play chance early in the third before Edmonton got its second man-advantage with 11 minutes left in regulation.

Markstrom kept his team within striking distance with a terrific pad stop on Draisaitl, who became the first player in NHL history to register three-plus points in four straight playoff games with an assist on the Oilers’ empty-net goal.

 Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks had to wait out a rain delay in the middle of the game and sweat out some tense moments near the end.

Once they had, they were still alive in the Western Conference finals.

Doncic had 30 points and 14 rebounds, and the Mavericks beat Golden State 119-109 in Game 4 on Tuesday night, when there was a 16-minute rain delay at the start of the second half and the Warriors cut a 29-point deficit down to single digits late.

“Just got to finish the game. A win is a win,” said Doncic, who was 10-of-26 shooting and got plenty of help from his supporting cast to avoid being swept.

It was the 10th double-double in his 14 games this postseason for Doncic, who also had nine assists. When he had 40 points in Game 3, Reggie Bullock shot 0 for 10 with seven misses from 3-point range.

Dorian Finney-Smith had 23 points and Bullock added 18 on 6-of-10 shooting — all 3-pointers. Jalen Brunson had 15 points and Maxi Kelber, who was 2-of-14 shooting (all 3s) in the first three games, made two 3s before halftime and was 5-of-6 shooting overall for 13 points.

“Everybody in that locker room felt like we had more basketball to play,” Finney-Smith said. “We just wanted to get the win any way. … Feel like we came out desperate that first half.”

The loss snapped the Warriors’ nine-game winning streak in Western Conference finals games, though they are still firmly in control of this series headed back to California for Game 5 on Thursday night.

“It was almost like an ego win (for Dallas). You come out and really have nothing to lose. So that confidence started early,” Stephen Curry said. “And we really didn’t do nothing to slow it down, and then that’s when the avalanche starts. You tip your hat to them.”

Curry had 20 points and returned to the game with 3:22 left — his first appearance in the fourth quarter — after the Warriors had cut a 29-point deficit to 110-102. But they never got closer even with Curry and other starters returning to the floor.

“Just made the decision to see if we could pull off a miracle, but it wasn’t meant to be,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Dallas was great tonight. They deserved to win. This is the conference finals. This is how it’s supposed to be.”

Doncic then drove for a dunk and Bullock made his sixth 3-pointer.

“I still believe we can win. Swept or not swept, if you lose, you lose,” Doncic said. “Got to go game by game.”

No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. Only three of the 146 teams to fall in that deep hole have even been able to force a seventh game.

The Mavericks have been swept in a best-of-seven only once in their 34 such series. That was against Oklahoma City in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, after Dallas won its only NBA title the previous season.

Rain leaking through the roof at American Airlines Center caused the delay after halftime. There was heavy rain outside, and there were at least two leaks. One was dropping water near the Golden State bench, and at the other end of the court water appeared to be falling in the stands.

It was the second such delay this season in the 21-year-old building. The start of a March 21 game against Minnesota was delayed 15 minutes because of water dripping near the visitors bench.

Dallas went ahead to stay with a 25-6 run over a nearly 7-minute span of the second quarter during which the Warriors missed nine of 10 shots and had two turnovers.

Golden State was up 31-29 after a jumper by Moses Moody, then had only one made basket the next seven minutes. A 3-pointer by Davis Bertans put the Mavericks in the lead for good.

The Mavericks had a 62-47 halftime after Doncic drove for a hard layup, responding to Curry’s basket at the other end.

MOMENT OF SILENCE

A moment of silence just before tipoff came hours after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at a Texas elementary school about 375 miles away in Uvalde, Texas, which is west of San Antonio in the southern part of the state. The moment also recognized a teacher-coach from Palestine, Texas, who was killed when his car was hit by a wrong-way driver when driving the just more than 100 miles home from Game 3 on Sunday night. Two students with him were injured.

CURRY’S 100th 20

Curry had his 100th career 20-point playoff game. He is only the 16th player to accomplish that. All others ahead of him are either in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, are still active players, or are retired and not yet eligible for Hall induction — such as Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki.

PORTER OUT

The Warriors were without Otto Porter Jr., who averaged 10.5 points on 82% shooting the first two games before leaving Game 3 because of a sore left foot. He didn’t dress Tuesday.

STOPPING SHORT

Draymond Green went to the free throw line midway through the third quarter. His first attempt stopped on the wide back side of the rim. After Doncic and Green stood in the lane together laughing about that, the ball was eventually knocked down. Green then missed the second attempt as well, and rebounded by Doncic.

The New York Rangers got the kind of strong, all-around effort from the start they needed and stormed past the Carolina Hurricanes.

Andrew Copp had a goal and two assists, and Frank Vatrano and Adam Fox each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers beat the Hurricanes 4-1 in Game 4 Tuesday night, evening the second-round series.

Mika Zibanejad also scored, Ryan Lindgren had two assists and Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 shots for the Rangers, who won their fifth straight at home in the postseason. In the series, New York won two at home after opening with two losses at Carolina.

“Everyone’s kind of contributing and has been over the course of the playoffs,” Copp said. “It’s not just one line, one D-pairing, it’s throughout the lineup. … Just trying to build off some of the momentum we’ve created these last two games.”

The Rangers have won two straight against the Hurricanes after losing eight of the previous nine meetings, including a three-game sweep in the qualifying round of the 2020 playoff bubble and three of four in the regular season.

“We’re confident,” Copp said. “We get two games where we win, we play well, we give up two goals total. Now the reverse of the talk of you guys is on them now. We just got to kind of block all that out and stay with our game. Guys are feeling better about themselves and we got to ride this momentum into Carolina.”

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant liked what he saw from his team, calling it ‘close’ to one of the most complete games by his team this postseason.

“We had a little bit of a letdown in part of the second and little bit in the third, too,” he said. “But for the most part we did a real good job.”

Teuvo Teravainen scored and Antti Raanta finished with 24 saves for the Hurricanes, who fell to 0-5 on the road in the postseason to go along with their 6-0 mark at home.

Carolina has scored just six goals in the series, including one in each of the last two games. The Hurricanes were 0 for 2 on the power play to fall to 0 for 9 against the Rangers.

“I am confident eventually they are going to find their way to the back of the net,” Carolina’s Sebastian Aho said. “We just have to find ways to score. We got to score on the power play.”

Game 5 is in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Thursday night, and Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Teravainen spoiled Shesterkin’s shutout bid when he scored his third of the playoffs at 6:33 of the third, pulling the Hurricanes within 3-1. However, Copp scored from the right side with just under nine minutes remaining.

There was more pushing and shoving between players in the closing seconds of the game, with the Rangers’ Ryan Reaves and Carolina’s Max Domi being separated by officials as they exchanged words.

Trailing 2-0, Carolina got its first power play midway through the second period, but couldn’t convert. About a minute into the Hurricanes’ advantage, the Rangers had a 2-on-1, short-handed chance but Raanta made a sprawling save on Zibanejad.

The Rangers pushed their lead to 3-0 with 3:12 left in the middle period as Lindgren fired a shot that Raanta stopped. However, as the puck trickled through his pads, Zibanejad swooped in behind him and knocked it in for his fifth of the playoffs.

Shesterkin made a spectacular glove save going from right to left on Brett Pesce 1:20 into the game on the Hurricanes’ first shot on goal, drawing a big roar from the home crowd that was buzzing even before the puck drop.

The Rangers were unhappy with a fight that broke out at the end of Game 3 on Sunday between Lindgren and Domi. New York coach Gerard Gallant was also seen yelling at Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

In this one, Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba delivered a hard hit on Domi along the side boards as the Hurricanes forward was falling to the ice. Carolina’s Steven Lorentz skated into Trouba and the two dropped gloves with less than 8 1/2 minutes left in the first. Lorentz drew a 10-minute misconduct and a minor for instigating in addition to the fighting majors he and Trouba received.

Vatrano took advantage as he fired a one-timer off a pass from Copp past Raanta with 6:29 left. It was his third of the playoffs.

Fox made it 2-0 just 2:11 later as he deflected a shot by Lindgren from the top of the left circle past Raanta.

Minutes later, DeAngelo — the target of several derisive chants from Rangers fans in the opening period — and Reaves were separated as they were jawing at each other.

RECORDS

The Rangers’ five straight home playoff wins matched a franchise record accomplished four times previously. The last was during their Stanley Cup championship run in 1994.

CLIMBING LISTS

Aho got his 26th career postseason assist, breaking a tie with Ron Francis for the most in franchise history. His 44th postseason point moved him past Eric Staal into sole possession of the top of the franchise scoring list. … Teravainen got his 19th goal to move past Francis into sole possession of fifth place in franchise playoff history. His 42nd point tied Kevin Dineen for the fifth-most points in franchise playoff history.

The Miami Heat left Jayson Tatum lying on the court with a pain in his neck in the closing minutes of Game 3.

The Celtics All-Star did his part to make sure the Heat were hurting after Game 4.

Tatum scored 31 points and Boston took its turn pounding Miami early, jumping out to a 26-4 lead and cruising to a 102-82 victory that evened the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.

“Obviously, we knew how important this game was,” Tatum said. “Everybody just had to come up with a different sense of urgency.”

Miami missed 15 of its first 16 shots as this bizarre series produced another game that was all but over after 12 minutes. The Heat led 39-18 after the first quarter of Game 3.

Boston improved to 5-0 this postseason following a loss. Coach Ime Udoka said the challenge is finding more consistency.

“Just got to muster that same energy when we came off a win as well as a loss,” Udoka said. “This is a three-game series now. Can’t always just flip the mindset when we come off a loss and get a little desperate.”

Game 5 is Wednesday in Miami.

Payton Pritchard had 14 points for the Celtics. Derrick White added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Robert Williams finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.

“We just wanted to up the effort all-around,” Williams said.

The Celtics led by 27 points in the second quarter and stretched their advantage to 32 in the third. Each game in this series has featured a lead of at least 20 points, and none has been close down the stretch.

Victor Oladipo led the Heat with 23 points. Miami’s starting five of All-Star Jimmy Butler (six points), Kyle Lowry (three points), P.J. Tucker (no points), Max Strus (no points) and Bam Adebayo (nine points) were a combined 7 of 36 shooting. They all sat out the fourth quarter.

“They came out and jumped us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re not making any excuses. They outplayed us tonight for sure. We never could get any kind of grip on the game.”

And the Celtics stymied the Heat without Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, who sat with a sprained right ankle he suffered in the second half of Game 3.

The Heat were without Tyler Herro, who suffered a groin injury late in Game 3.

Butler was in the starting lineup after missing the second half of Game 3 with swelling in his right knee. Lowry (strained left hamstring), Strus (strained hamstring) and Tucker (left knee irritation) all tested their injuries pregame before being cleared to go.

“It’s a part of playoffs. You learn to adapt,” Adebayo said. “Guys being out, guys playing half, guys playing 20 minutes in the game, just depends. You’ve just got to find a way to win.”

Boston’s Williams returned after missing a game with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.

Even with their banged-up roster, the Celtics enjoyed their fastest start of the series. Starting in place of Smart, White scored the game’s first seven points as Boston took an 8-0 lead.

It quickly grew to 18-1, with Miami misfiring on its first 14 shots. The Heat didn’t get their first points until Adebayo’s free throw at the 7:56 mark. Miami made its first field goal at 3:22, a 3-pointer by Oladipo, and finished the quarter 3 for 20.

The Celtics took a 29-11 lead into the second quarter and led 57-33 at the half.

TIP-INS

Heat: Shot 33% (30 of 90). … Finished with 64 bench points. … Miami had one point in the first eight minutes, the lowest total by any team in a playoff game in the last quarter-century, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Celtics: Outrebounded Miami 20-8 in the first quarter. … Several current and former New England Patriots were in the crowd, including Devin and Jason McCourty, Malcolm Butler and Damien Harris.

STARTING DIVE

Per ESPN Stats & Info, the 18 points scored by Miami’s starters is the lowest total by a starting five in a playoff game since starters were first tracked beginning in 1970-71.

TURNOVER FORMULA

After finishing with 23 turnovers in Game 3, the Celtics had nine in Game 4. They improved to 10-2 this postseason when they have 15 or fewer turnovers. Boston is 0-3 when it has 16 or more giveaways.

Nazem Kadri had the last laugh.

Kadri scored three goals, including two during a four-goal second period barrage, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the St. Louis Blues 6-3 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference series.

Kadri’s outburst came after he received racist death threats on social media following a first-period collision with Blues goalie Jordan Binnington in Game 3 on Saturday night.

“I wanted to come out tonight and really put a mark on this game, especially after what happened,” Kadri said. “I tried to do that as best as possible. Sometimes you’ve got to be patient and you’ve got to wait. I was able to strike early in the second period and was able to get the mojo going.”

Kadri, who was booed heavily every time he touched the puck, skated towards the glass and appeared to salute the Blues fans after each of his first two goals, inciting even more jeers. It was his first career playoff hat trick.

“I know that they’re booing me and what-not, but that’s what being a fan is,” Kadri said. “As a home team and a home player, you want the fans on your side and heckling the other team, as long as it’s within the guidelines. I’ve got no issues with that and I know what was said isn’t a reflection on every single fan in St. Louis. I understand that and I want to make that clear. But for those that wasted their time sending messages like that, I feel sorry for them.”

Kadri said he heard no racial taunts from the crowd on Monday.

“Naz’s focused, he’s a big boy, he’s a tough guy, and he’s a resilient guy,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “And we’re proud of him as a group and we have a task that we’re trying to complete and Naz understands that and it’s unfortunate he has to deal with it and he knows that we’re all with him and that’s what we care about.”

Erik Johnson and Devon Toews also scored and Mikko Rantanen added an empty netter for the Avalanche, while Darcy Kuemper made 17 saves.

David Perron scored twice and Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Ville Husso, making his first start since Game 3 of the first round against Minnesota, made 31 saves.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Colorado.

“We got outskated for most of the game 5-on-5,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “It’s pretty simple. I don’t know why. We got outskated. They outskated us. Got to every loose puck. Lost a lot of puck battles.”

The Avalanche took control of the game — and the series — with three goals in less than a two-minute span early in the second period.

Johnson got it going with his first of the playoffs at the 2:44 mark. Kadri gave the Avalanche the lead with his first at 4:07 and Toews scored 19 seconds later to make it 3-1.

Kadri said Berube’s comments after Game 3 were part of his motivation. When asked about the collision following the game, Berube referred to Kadri’s past disciplinary action from the league office.

“He made some comments that I wasn’t a fan of,” Kadri said. “I guess he’s never heard of bulletin-board material.”

Kadri gave Perron a late shove a minute later, causing retaliation by Perron and Buchnevich that landed them both in the box with minor penalties. Colorado did not score on the two-man advantage, but Kadri buried his second goal moments after it ended to make it 4-1.

Perron and Buchnevich each scored power play goals late in the second to bring the Blues back within one, but Kadri’s goal midway through the third scuttled the comeback attempt.

“It was awesome,” Johnson said of Kadri’s hat trick. “I felt so good for him. You know, imagine being in his situation, it can’t be a fun thing. Like I said, no human being should actually receive that type of treatment, especially with a hockey game. … I think he liked being the villain tonight and he certainly stepped up for us.”

Perron gave the Blues a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game and they escaped the first period with the lead despite getting outshot 15-3. Husso made several tough saves drawing chants of “HUSS!” from the crowd.

“I’m not sure we ever had control of the game, even though we scored first,” Perron said. “We didn’t make them defend hard enough. We had some pushes, but not nearly consistent enough to win a hockey game.”

EXTRA SECURITY

St. Louis police are investigating the threats made towards Kadri. The NHL told the AP on Monday that it is working with the St. Louis Police Department to employ enhanced security procedures both at the arena and in the hotel.

ROAD WARRIORS

Colorado is 4-0 on the road this postseason and is the only team without a loss away from home. The streak ties the second-longest postseason-opening road winning streak in franchise history with the 2001 team. The longest streak is a 7-0 start by the 1999 team.

NOTES: Blues D Torey Krug skated with the team during the morning skate for the first time since sustaining a lower body injury in Game 3 against Minnesota. There is no update on his return. … Avalanche C Alex Newhook played in his first playoff game this year and got an assist on Johnson’s goal. … Blues F Vladimir Tarasenko played in his 88th career playoff game, moving him into a tie with Jaden Schwartz for fifth-most in franchise history. … The Blues recalled G Charlie Lindgren from Springfield, its AHL affiliate, under emergency circumstances on Sunday to back up Husso.

The Tampa Bay Lightning completed their second-round sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers with a 2-0 Game 4 victory Monday night.

Veteran forward Pat Maroon scored the game-winner in the third period while Andrei Vasilevskiy pitched a stunning 49-save shutout. Ondrej Palat sealed the deal with an empty-netter.

“We didn’t want to waste that game that (Vasilevskiy) played,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos told reporters postgame, according to team beat writer Chris Krenn.

The Bolts thought they opened the scoring twice in the second period, but both goals were called back after review.

The victory marked the Lightning’s first sweep under head coach Jon Cooper and 10th straight series win. Only the Montreal Canadiens (13 from 1976 to 1980) and New York Islanders (19 from 1980 to 1984) won more consecutive series.

Tampa Bay pulled off the sweep despite missing star forward Brayden Point, who was injured in Game 7 of its first-round clash against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I think we’re closer than ever, but we got swept. There’s another level we’ve got to climb. We’re still climbing,” Panthers interim head coach Andrew Brunette said, per team reporter Jameson Olive. “I believed that we were ready for that next step, but unfortunately we fell short.”

The Panthers controlled 51.8% of the expected goals and 57.9% at five-on-five throughout the series, according to Natural Stat Trick. However, the outstanding Vasilevskiy allowed only three goals on 154 shots, while the Lightning scored 13.

Vasilevskiy secured his sixth career series-clinching shutout, surpassing Clint Benedict and Chris Osgood (both 5) for the most in league history.

“I think it was our best game this series, but it wasn’t enough,” Florida captain Aleksander Barkov said.

Cooper made sure to give the Panthers some props.

“People are going to sit here and say, ‘What happened to Florida?’ No – a bounce here, a bounce there and it’s 2-2 and we’re going back to Florida at some point,” he said, according to Krenn. “Guys are exhausted – and it was only a four-game series.”

Since the 2004-05 lockout, only five Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams advanced past the second round, while only two won the Stanley Cup, per Sportsnet. The past four Presidents’ Trophy winners all lost four straight games leading up to their elimination.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow. Getting swept is tough,” Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said, according to Olive. “It hurts. It stings. There’s no doubt about it.”

The back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions will face either the New York Rangers or Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final.

Valeri Nichushkin scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:58 left, and the Colorado Avalanche became the first team to advance to the second round Monday night by finishing a sweep of the Nashville Predators 5-3 Monday night.

The Avalanche now are in the Western Conference semifinals for a fourth straight season and second consecutive after sweeping their first-round opponent. They improved to 6-0 since the franchise relocated to Denver in best-of-seven series after winning the first three games with their fourth sweep in that span.

They now get to wait for either St. Louis or Minnesota after what Avs defenseman Cale Makar called step one.

“You enjoy it for a little bit, but then you move on,” Makar said. “Obviously, we don’t know who our opponent is yet, but it’s going to be a familiar team. For us, it’s already to that next step. We’re where we want it to be, but we have to make sure that we can stay tight throughout this little break that we have.”

Andre Burakovsky and Cale Makar each had a goal and two assists for Colorado, and Devon Toews added a goal. Nathan MacKinnon sealed the victory with an empty-net goal on the man advantage with 55.9 seconds remaining.

Yakov Trenin scored twice for Nashville, which was swept for the first time in franchise history in its 15th playoff appearance. Filip Forsberg scored his first of the series giving Nashville its first lead this series at 3:58 of the third. Colton Sissons had two assists.

“The fact that we weren’t able to win a game is something that we all take personal for sure,” Nashville coach John Hynes said.

Colorado scored three times over the final 11:05 to wrap up a series by outscoring Nashville 21-9. After Toews tied it 3-3 at 8:55 of the third, Nichushkin scored on a snap shot from the right circle to put the Avs ahead to stay.

The Predators had a few open seats midway into the first period. Not even having Walker Zimmerman, a defender for MLS’ Nashville SC, wave the pre-game rally towel helped.

Colorado wound up scoring on its first shot attempt of the game for the second time this series, even if replay was needed to call it a goal.

Burakovsky’s wrister sent the puck through the back net, a shot that had the Avalanche starting to celebrate before an official immediately waved it off During a stoppage at 1:56, officials reviewed the play and saw the puck go through the net needing an official to fix the net behind Predators rookie goalie Connor Ingram.

The rookie goalie had to make a save on a short-handed attempt by the Avs on Nashville’s first power play, and Colorado had two more shot attempts than the Predators. The Avs outshot Nashville 13-6 dominating the first until Trenin got his second of this series on a wrister from the slot with 61 seconds left in the period.

Makar put Colorado up 2-1 with a snap shot from near the blue line at 13:33 of the second, and he nearly scored again on a breakaway about 2 minutes later only to have Ingram stop the puck with his left pad.

“Anytime you get a chance to end a team’s season, you take it and run,” Makar said. “You try at least. For us tonight, there was a lot of ups and downs, but we wanted this one. I think just the resilience in general showed from our group.”

Trenin tied it again, this time with 3:11 left in the second. He spun in the right circle and fired a wrister past Pavel Francouz.

Forsberg scored into an open net behind Francouz off a cross-ice pass from Mattias Ekholm, giving Nashville a 3-2 lead in the third.

“You never want to go out 4-nothing,” Nashville captain Roman Josi said. “It’s tough right now. … I thought our two home games, we played a lot better. But yeah we didn’t get it done. We didn’t get a win, so yeah it’s definitely disappointing.”

SWEEP TIME

The Avalanche also swept St. Louis in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, Vancouver in the Western quarterfinals in 2001 and the 1996 Stanley Cup Final against Florida.

NORRIS TROPHY FINALISTS

Josi and Makar were announced as finalists earlier Monday for the Norris Trophy. Josi won the Norris in 2020, and he posted the best scoring season since Phil Housley in 1992-93 with 96 points — a franchise record for the Predators.

Makar is a finalist for a second straight season. He led defensemen with 28 goals, and he became the eighth defenseman in NHL history with seven or more points through the first three games of a postseason and first since John Carlson also had seven in 2018.