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The Buzzer: Lightning, Golden Knights put opponents on the brink

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Friday’s results

Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Boston Bruins 3 OT (Tampa leads series 3-1): Nikita Kucherov scored his first goal of the series, Steven Stamkos scored his first even-strength goal in 21 games and Dan Girardi provided the heroics in overtime as the Lightning pushed the Bruins to the brink of playoff elimination with their win. Boston’s top line contributed all three goals, but it wasn’t enough on the night. Oh, and Brad Marchand licked a fellow player again.

Vegas Golden Knights 4, San Jose Sharks 3 (Vegas leads series 3-2): It all looked good around the midway point of the third period. Vegas owned a 4-0 lead and were heading to an easy win when the Sharks attacked. San Jose brought the game to 4-3 in just over six minutes to make the game oh-so-interesting, at least until an empty net goal by Jonathan Marchessault ended the comeback attempt. Alex Tuch provided two goals, including the game-winner.

Three stars

Alex Tuch, Golden Knights: Tuch had two goals on four shots for the Golden Knights, including an important — and very pretty — a third-period goal that ended up being the game-winner.

Steven Stamkos, Lightning: Stamkos’ third-period goal was not only a very important goal (it tied the game and forced overtime, where the Lightning won), it was his first even-strength marker in 21 games. Stamkos has been quiet in the playoffs while the team’s second line has provided a lot of firepower, so perhaps the goal will spark more out of the sniper going forward.

Patrice Bergeron, Bruins: Sure, the Bruins lost, but it wasn’t for lack of trying from Bergeron. The Selke finalist tied the game in the second period and then scored the go-ahead goal shorthanded in the third period. Bergeron had seven shots on goal and won 73 percent of the faceoffs he took.

Highlights

Stamkos beauty:

Tuch’s with a deft redirection:

Glove save of the night:

Fleury sillyness:

Factoids

Saturday’s action

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET (NBC) — series tied 2-2

Winnipeg Jets vs. Nashville Predators, 9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN) — series tied 2-2


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Golden Knights survive late Sharks attack to take 3-2 series lead

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Vegas Golden Knights fans, are your heart rates returning to normal yet?

The Golden Knights hopped back on their magical playoff ride on Friday night in Sin City, but they sure didn’t make it easy on themselves after amassing a 4-0 lead through the first 50 minutes of the game.

Few figured the Golden Knights were going to roll over and die off after getting shutout in Game 3, and while they showed no signs of any lingering effects in Game 5 early following their worst loss of the playoffs two days earlier, things certainly got shaky in the third period.

Vegas was on cruise-control until the final 10 minutes, when the San Jose Sharks began their all-out assault on Marc-Andre Fluery’s net.

In a span of 6:09, the game went from a comfortable 4-0 rout to an uncertain 4-3 scoreline thanks near-epic comeback effort from the Sharks.

Earlier in the game, Alex Tuch scored two goals, including a third-period marker — a slick redirect that spelled the end of Martin Jones‘ night. Tuch’s goal proved to be an ever-important, being the fourth strike in what ended up being a 5-3 win and a 3-2 series lead for Vegas.

Jones allowed four goals on 31 shots while Fleury, who appeared to be on his way to his fourth playoff shutout this season alone, ended up stopping 27-of-30.

Kevin Lablanc, Tomas Hertl and Mikkel Boedker provided the quick strikes for San Jose, but with the Sharks’ net empty, Jonathan Marchessault slid a shot from his own blue line into the open cage to seal San Jose’s fate.

The Sharks are now in must-win mode as the series shifts back to the Shark Tank on Sunday night.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Eichel headlines U.S. junior evaluation camp roster

Jack Eichel highlights Team USA’s national junior evaluation camp roster, which was unveiled on Thursday.

Eichel, who captained the 2015 U.S. world junior squad, is one of 11 players from this year’s tournament invited to the camp, which takes place Aug. 1-8, in Lake Placid, New York.

Rangers’ prospect Brandon Halverson returns in goal while Brandon Carlo, Ryan Collins, Noah Hanifin and Zach Werenski were all a part of the Americans’ blue line at the 2015 tournament.

Dylan Larkin, Auston Matthews, Sonny Milano, Nick Schmaltz and Alex Tuch along with Eichel were among the U.S. forward group at this year’s tournament.

Eichel is also one of 18 invited players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft next week in Florida.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ENTIRE ROSTER

Matthews, who will likely spend the 2015-16 season playing professionally in Europe, is the top rated prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft. Five players invited are eligible for next year’s draft.

The Americans have medaled in three of the past six world junior tournaments. The U.S. took home gold medals in 2013 and 2010, and bronze in 2011. Team USA finished fifth at the 2015 event.

The 2016 world junior championship takes place in Helsinki, Finland from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.

Related: Here’s the full 2015 NHL Entry Draft order

Not bad: 2015 draft prospect Eichel has three assists vs. Sweden

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We know there’s not a lot in the way of hockey going on, but the World Junior Evaluation Camp is going on in Lake Placid, NY for Team USA.

Potential 2015 NHL Draft top pick Jack Eichel was a big part of Team USA’s 7-1 win against Sweden. The future Boston University forward had three assists and helped Minnesota Wild 2014 first-round pick Alex Tuch bag a hat trick in the blowout win.

NHL fans haven’t had much of a look at Eichel while all the talk about next year’s draft has focused on Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid. His appearance at the Lake Placid camp is the first real opportunity for fans to get an idea what he’s all about. As he told Adam Kimelman of NHL.com, he’s anxious to prove he’s right there with McDavid.

“I think it’s in everyone’s competitive nature that they want to go No. 1,” Eichel said. “If I sat here and told you I didn’t want to go No. 1 I’d be lying.”

He may get a couple more chances to prove himself at the WJC Camp with games against Finland and the Czech Republic still to go this week. Expect to hear a lot more about both Eichel and McDavid all season leading up to the 2015 Draft in Sunrise, Florida.