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Tarasenko, Elliott help St.Louis take 3-1 series lead
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CHICAGO (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko scored on a pair of impressive wrist shots, Brian Elliott made 39 saves and the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Jaden Schwartz scored a tiebreaking power-play goal in the third period for the second straight game as St. Louis moved to the brink of its first appearance in the Western Conference semifinals since 2012. The Blues were eliminated in the opening round in each of the past three years.

NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Cullen beat Henrik Lundqvist on a semi-breakaway after beating two defensemen early in the third period and Pittsburgh spoiled the return of Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh with a win in Game 3 of their first-round series.
Sidney Crosby also scored and Matt Murray made 16 saves in his return to action in helping the Penguins take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Game 4 is Thursday night in New York. The Rangers have lost four consecutive playoff games at Madison Square Garden going back to last season’s Eastern Conference final against Tampa Bay.

DETROIT (AP) — Ondrej Palat scored with 2:59 left in the third period, lifting Tampa Bay over Detroit for a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
Game 5 is Thursday night at Tampa Bay.
Ben Bishop stopped 26 shots for the Lightning and Petr Mrazek made 30 saves for the Red Wings.
Palat was in a perfect position right in front of the net to make the most of Jonathan Drouin’s pass on the game-winning goal. Drouin had three assists.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Frederik Andersen made 27 saves, and Anaheim shut out Nashville to pull within 2-1 in the first-round playoff series.
The Ducks have not lost three straight to open a postseason series since the 2006 Western Conference finals, and they didn’t come close to dropping a third straight this year.
Andersen, who started in net after John Gibson took the first two losses in Anaheim, posted his second postseason shutout despite taking Shea Weber’s slap shot off his head. He has 15 postseason wins since 2014.
Chris Stewart had a goal and an assist, and Jamie McGinn and Rickard Rakell each scored their first goals of the series.
Game 4 is Thursday night in Nashville.