Bruins down Blue Jackets to advance in NHL playoffs

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Moving on: Boston goalie Tuukka Rask stops a shot by Brandon Dubinsky of the Columbus as the Bruins beat the Blue Jackets 3-0 to advance to the NHL Eastern Conference finals (AFP Photo/Kirk Irwin)

TUUKKA Rask made 39 saves as the Boston Bruins reached the NHL’s Eastern Conference finals on Monday with a 3-0 road victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Bruins won their third straight game to win the best-of-seven second-round series four games to two.

They’ll host the Carolina Hurricanes in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals with a place in the Stanley Cup Finals on the line.

Carolina wrapped up a four-game sweep of the New York Islanders on Friday.

“It’s going to be a hard series,” Rask said. “But trying to enjoy this now. Get back at it, whenever. But [Carolina is] a good team. Any team who’s playing at this point is a great team and brings a great challenge. Should be interesting.”

Rask posted his sixth post-season shutout. David Krejci had a goal and an assist, and Marcus Johansson and David Backes also scored for the Bruins, who reached the conference final for the first time since 2013.

The Blue Jackets, who have never reached a game seven, were eliminated at home for the fourth time in the five seasons they have reached the playoffs.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Krejci opened the scoring at 12:13 of the second period after Jake DeBrusk’s shot hit the crossbar and cannoned to him.

Rask made five saves, one off his mask, during the Blue Jackets’ fourth power play early in the third period, and Zach Werenski hit the left post.

Columbus hit the crossbar three times: Pierre-Luc Dubois in the first period, and Dean Kukan and Josh Anderson in the second.

Johansson doubled the score at 8:58 of the third when Bobrovsky got a piece of his shot from the top of the slot but it trickled behind him into the net.

Backes capped the scoring at 10:39, redirecting a diagonal feed from defenceman Torey Krug.

Avalanche stay alive

In Denver, Colorado avoided elimination as Gabriel Landeskog scored at 2:32 of overtime to lift the Avalanche to a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks in game six of their Western Conference second-round series.

Landeskog scored while skating through the slot after Cale Makar stopped Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s clearing attempt and played the puck toward the net.

Philipp Gubauer made 19 saves for the Avs and JT Compher had two goals and an assist as they leveled the series at three games apiece.

San Jose host the decisive game seven on Wednesday.

Vlasic scored his second goal of the night for the Sharks with 2:28 left in the third to knot the score at 3-3.

Vlasic had tied the game 1-1 at 14:36 of the second after Tyson Jost opened the scoring for Colorado at 4:05 of the second when he converted a 2-on-1 with Compher – who scored in both the second and third periods. Brent Burns also scored for San Jose and Martin Jones made 22 saves in the Sharks’ unsuccessful closeout bid.