NHL Three Stars: Bruins push Rangers to brink, Couture heroic again

No. 1 Star: Daniel Paille, Boston Bruins

The catalyst for the Bruins’ dominating fourth line in Game 3, Paille set up Johnny Boychuk for the tying goal and then scored the game-winner on a funky bounce to give Boston a 2-1 win over the Rangers and a 3-0 series lead.

No. 2 Star: Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks

The Sharks goalie stopped 22 shots, including 13 in the third period, to backstop San Jose to a 2-1 Game 4 win and a 2-2 series split with the Los Angeles Kings.

No. 3 Star: Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks

The Sharks forward scored the game-winning goal on a tip-in of a Dan Boyle shot, his fifth of the playoffs. Couture scored consecutive game-winning power-play goals vs. the Kings.

Honorable mention: Mike Richards had the Kings’ goal. Brent Burns scored for the Sharks in the first period. … Taylor Pyatt had the Rangers’ goal. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves for the Bruins. … Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves in the loss for New York. … Jonathan Quick made 21 saves for the Kings. ... This Burns hit on Brad Richardson was something to behold:

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Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. David Krejci, Boston Bruins; 3. Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks; 4. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings; 5. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins; 6. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; 7. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators. 8. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks; 9. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings; 10. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings.

Dishonorable mention: The Bruins didn’t receive a power play in Game 3, the second time a visiting team went a full game at MSG without earning one this postseason. … The Kings were burned by a quick whistle. … The Boston/New York game features several uncalled high-sticks, never more evident than on this “mutual high sticking” play.

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