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Bruins tighten Atlantic race

Kid scores: The Oilers’ Connor McDavid, chosen No. 1 overall, celebrates his first-period goal versus Buffalo.

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Kid scores: The Oilers’ Connor McDavid, chosen No. 1 overall, celebrates his first-period goal versus Buffalo.

BOSTON — Patrice Bergeron scored a tiebreaking goal with 3:24 left in the third period to help the Bruins beat the Flames 2-1 Tuesday night.

Landon Ferraro also scored for Boston and Tuukka Rask stopped 24 of 25 shots as the Bruins won for the third time in four games. Boston (76 points) closed within two points of Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division; the Lightning went into the night tied for first with Florida, which played a late game at Winnipeg.

Jakub Nakladal's first career goal was the only score for the Flames, who lost their sixth straight.

Joni Ortio had 23 saves for Calgary, but had little chance on the game-winner as Bergeron one-timed a pass from Torey Krug from high in the slot.

1-2 rookies draw hype

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Impressed yet not surprised, Oilers coach Todd McLellan couldn't help but acknowledge the larger than usual gathering of reporters on hand for what was essentially a meaningless game in Buffalo.

Bad as the Oilers and Sabres have been this season, McLellan credited Edmonton's Connor McDavid and Buffalo's Jack Eichel for showing how capable the rookie centers are in drawing a crowd.

"We're very lucky to have them in our league. And the fans are very lucky to watch them play on a nightly basis because they're gifted, they're skilled, they're the future of our game," McLellan said. "So that's why we have playoff-type coverage for two teams that are probably not going to make it."

Going into Tuesday's late game, the Oilers were 29th in the league, last in the Pacific Division. The Sabres were hardly better, sitting 26th.

The matchup created a buzz because it was the first NHL meeting between two players called "once-in-a-generation" talents when McDavid was selected first overall and Eichel second in the draft last year.

The game also was a day before the Canadian-born McDavid and American-born Eichel are expected to be named among the first 16 players selected to the Team North America's World Cup of Hockey roster. The squad will consist of players 23 years and younger and coached by McLellan, with Lightning coach Jon Cooper serving as one of his three assistants.

Game highlights: Joakim Nordstrom scored on a rebound with 1:29 left as the visiting Hurricanes defeated the Devils 3-1. Derek Ryan, playing his first NHL game at age 29, also scored for Carolina, and Eddie Lack made 29 saves.

Ban for hit on Paquette: The league suspended Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo for five games without pay for an illegal hit to Lightning forward Cedric Paquette in Sunday's game. Rinaldo hit Paquette against the boards in the first period and was assessed a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head. Paquette left the game but later returned. Rinaldo's ban will cost him $51,829.

Around the league: Hurricanes wing Andrej Nestrasil is out for the season with a broken vertebra. General manager Ron Francis said Nestrasil was hurt Feb. 25 in a loss at Toronto when he fell awkwardly into the boards after a hit. … The Predators signed forward Miikka Salomaki to a two-year, $1.225 million contract. Salomaki, who turns 23 on March 9, has four goals and three assists in 45 games this season.

Hurricanes 0 1 2 3
at Devils 1 0 0 1

First Period1, New Jersey, Henrique 20 (Kennedy, Greene), 10:54. PenaltiesMerrill, NJ (interference), 14:02; Hainsey, Car (holding stick), 17:15.

Second Period2, Carolina, Ryan 1 (Slavin), 4:36 (pp). PenaltiesMoore, NJ (slashing), 2:40; Skinner, Car (holding), 9:59; New Jersey bench, served by Tootoo (too many men), 9:59.

Third Period3, Carolina, Nordstrom 9 (Lindholm, Slavin), 18:31. 4, Carolina, Gerbe 2, 19:38 (en). PenaltiesPesce, Car (high-sticking), 8:00. Shots on GoalCarolina 5-7-7—19. New Jersey 9-9-12—30. Power-play opportunitiesCarolina 1 of 2; New Jersey 0 of 2. GoaliesCarolina, Lack 11-11-3 (30 shots-29 saves). New Jersey, Schneider 26-22-6 (18-16). A14,251 (17,625). T2:26. Referees—Jean Hebert, Eric Furlatt. LinesmenDavid Brisebois, Brandon Gawryletz.

at Bruins 1 0 1 2
Flames 0 0 1 1

First Period1, Boston, Ferraro 5 (Krug, Connolly), 7:05. PenaltiesMarchand, Bos (roughing), :38; Colborne, Cal (interference), 1:42; K.Miller, Bos (holding), 15:41.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesBeleskey, Bos (unsportsmanlike conduct), 1:10; Hathaway, Cal (tripping), 8:41; Beleskey, Bos (goaltender interference), 9:53; Frolik, Cal (hooking), 17:31.

Third Period2, Calgary, Nakladal 1 (Jokipakka, Frolik), 5:35. 3, Boston, Bergeron 24 (Spooner, Krejci), 16:36 (pp). PenaltiesFrolik, Cal (boarding), 9:09; Calgary bench, served by Bennett (too many men), 15:53. Shots on GoalCalgary 8-8-9—25. Boston 5-9-11—25. Power-play opportunitiesCalgary 0 of 4; Boston 1 of 5. GoaliesCalgary, Ortio 0-6-2 (25 shots-23 saves). Boston, Rask 25-18-5 (25-24). A17,565 (17,565). T2:28. Referees—Trevor Hanson, Francois St. Laurent. LinesmenMichel Cormier, Tim Nowak.

Bruins tighten Atlantic race 03/01/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 10:26pm]
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