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Bozak comes up big again as Maple Leafs grab huge win against Bruins

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Technically, a very late Dominic Moore goal keeps Tyler Bozak‘s 2-1 tally from being the game-winner for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Boston Bruins. It essentially was on Monday, though.

The Maple Leafs piled on some empty-netters, so the score ended up being 4-2, a misleading margin of victory as Bozak’s go-ahead goal broke a 1-1 tie with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

Earlier in March, Bozak scored a huge goal in Toronto’s win against the Philadelphia Flyers, so a once-maligned forward is coming up clutch for the Buds.

(Judging by the responses to this post on Twitter, Bruins fans believed that the Maple Leafs received the benefit of a few whistles.)

With this regulation win, the Maple Leafs swept their season series against the Bruins.

They’re now in striking distance of passing the Bruins for third in the Atlantic:

Bruins – 82 points in 72 games
Maple Leafs – 81 points in 71 GP

The modest immediate concern is grabbing a playoff spot, and in that regard, this win creates some nice breathing room for Toronto:

Final wild card spot: Maple Leafs – 81 points in 71 GP

Islanders – 78 points in 71 GP
Lightning – 77 points in 71 GP

Every other non-playoff East team: 74 points or fewer.

The Maple Leafs can’t just sit back and relax during their final 11 games of the regular season, mind you, but they might just remember nights like these if their push ends up being successful.

That will be especially true if they can finish ahead of the Bruins.

No mic? No problem: Oilers fans sing American, Canadian national anthems

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There was apparently an issue with a microphone used for the national anthems prior to Game 3 between the Ducks and Oilers in Edmonton.

Canadian country music star Brett Kissel was supposed to perform the anthems, however, as he stepped up to the mic, he soon discovered that there seemed to be a malfunction.

With some quick encouragement from Kissel, fans at Rogers Place stole the show with stirring renditions of both the American and Canadian national anthems.

Here is the Star Spangled Banner:

Here is O Canada:

Sami Vatanen returns to Ducks lineup vs. Oilers

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Good news for the Anaheim Ducks, who trail the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 in their second round series.

Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen returns to the lineup Sunday for Game 3 — his first game since April 13, which was the opener of Anaheim’s first-round series with Calgary, because of an upper-body injury.

However, the Ducks will be without Kevin Bieksa, who is dealing with a lower-body injury.

Predators stifle Blues to take back series lead

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The Nashville Predators have snapped their one-game funk in these Stanley Cup playoffs, taking back the series lead over the St. Louis Blues.

For long stretches of Sunday’s contest, the Predators kept the puck away from and stifled the Blues, including a stretch of almost nine minutes at the beginning of the second period in which St. Louis failed to register a shot attempt.

The Predators’ 3-1 victory in Game 3 was eventually secured on an unbelievably dominant shift late in the third period.

Joel Edmundson‘s (costly) turnover led to a dizzying attack from Predators, who had sustained puck possession inside the St. Louis zone for about 1:10.

By the end, Edmundson and Colton Parayko had exhausted themselves as the Predators tossed the puck around with increasing ease before Roman Josi halted the madness with a slap shot to the top corner, giving Nashville a two-goal lead.

That continues an impressive trend for the Predators.

They have scored nine goals in this series, with at least one defenseman contributing directly with either a goal or an assist on eight of those goals. Nashville’s group of blueliners — including Ryan Ellis, who has been on quite a productive roll throughout these playoffs — have combined for 11 points through three games in this series.

This series resumes Tuesday in Nashville, with the Predators leading 2-1.

VIDEO: Ryan Ellis continues his incredible postseason run for Predators

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Playing in Nashville over the years it has been easy for Ryan Ellis to get overlooked, always playing in the shadow of bigger name stars on the team’s blue line.

Shea Weber (before he was traded). Roman Josi. P.K. Subban.

But Ellis has been a major part of the Predators’ blue line and he had a career-year in 2016-17, setting new personal bests in goals (16) and points (38) while matching his previous career high in assists (22).

He has continued that strong play in the postseason and is currently the team’s leading scorer after he netted his third goal of the playoffs (and eighth total point) on Sunday afternoon to give the Predators a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Blues.

You can see it in the video above.

After being held without a point in the Predators’ first playoff game, Ellis has now picked up at least one point in every playoff game since them and is now riding a six-game point streak.

The first half of Sunday’s game has been a defensive clinic by the Predators, by the way, limiting St. Louis to just 10 shots on goal through the first 34 minutes, and none through the first 14 minutes of the second period.

The Predators extended their lead to 2-0 in the second period when Cody McLeod deflected in his first goal of the playoffs to give the Predators some unexpected scoring depth. He had just five goals in 59 games during the regular season between the Predators and Colorado Avalanche.