Pastrnak, Halak power Bruins past Lightning, Knights crush Canucks

Boston Bruins netminder Jaroslav Halak has won four straight games since No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask opted out of the NHL quarantine bubble. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/ELSA

David Pastrnak and Jaroslav Halak came late to the dance but are now major contributors in the postseason for the Boston Bruins, who beat the Tampa Bay Lighting 3-2 Sunday to win the opening game of their second round series.

Czech Pastrnak had a goal and an assist and Slovak Halak made 35 saves as the Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the clash between the two top Eastern Conference teams during the regular season.

Pastrnak was playing in just his second game back after missing three games in the first round of the playoffs, and Halak won his fourth consecutive game since first-choice goaltender Tuukka Rask opted out of the NHL’s quarantine bubble just over a week ago.

“He’s a great goalie. He’s been huge for us. When they slip in there and we break down a little bit, he’s there to shut the door,” Boston forward Charlie Coyle said of Halak.

Game two is Tuesday in Toronto.

In the late game, Robin Lehner stopped 26 shots for the shutout and five different Vegas players scored goals as the top seeded Golden Knights won the first game of their second round series with a 5-0 rout of the Vancouver Canucks.

When the NHL shutdown in March because of the global pandemic, the Bruins were atop the NHL standings — the lone 100-point team — and the Lightning were second in the East.

Both clubs are coming off five-game series wins in the opening round of the postseason. Boston knocked out the Hurricanes, while the Lightning eliminated the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Tampa Bay defeated Boston 3-2 in their only round-robin meeting during the pre-playoff qualifying round. Tampa also won three of the four meetings in the regular season.

Brad Marchand also had a goal and an assist, while Coyle opened the scoring late in the first period on Sunday.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots for the Lightning, who were without star forward Steven Stamkos, who has been sidelined with an injury.

Canada’s Stamkos hasn’t played since February due to a core muscle injury that required surgery. Stamkos had 29 goals and 66 points in the regular season.

Tampa was also without Ryan McDonagh for the final 11 minutes, after he left the team bench and went to the dressing room.

Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman scored twice for Tampa.

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