NHL Scores: Taylor Hall scores first for Bruins, Igor Shesterkin a wall for Rangers, Central Division battle for first place heats up, and more

taylor hall oilers
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 15: Taylor Hall #71 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Jeremy Lauzon #55 and Patrice Bergeron #37 after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden on April 15, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Islanders 4-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Taylor Hall called himself not a very confident player after being traded to the Bruins but made sure that was short-lived in Boston. In the third period of a 2-1 game, Hall streaking down the left side of Seymon Varlamov scored the back breaking third goal as the Bruins beat the Islanders 4-1.

Bruins fighting to stay in fourth place in the East

Boston is fighting off both the Rangers and Flyers who won last night to remain in the last playoff spot in the East. Hall’s goal was a key contributor in that objective and he also helped Tuukka Rask register his 300th NHL win in the process.

“I mean you always want to contribute,” Hall said. “As an offensive guy, you don’t come into every game hoping to score a goal, but you want to make plays, you want to create chances, and I thought tonight our line (with David Krejci,¬†Craig Smith) did that. So it was nice to see one go in.

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Igor Shesterkin gets second straight shutout as Rangers rolling

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Apr 15, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Igor Shesterkin #31 and Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers celebrate their 4-0 shutout against the New Jersey Devilsat Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers may very well lament their slow start to the season as they’ve been one of the hottest teams in the NHL since mid-March. They are getting scoring from three lines and their blue-line to go with spectacular goaltending.

Igor Shesterkin notched his second straight shutout after recoding his first ever NHL goose egg on Tuesday. He only had to make 16 saves last night in the Blueshirts 4-0 blanking of the Devils. Artemi Panarin scored twice and picked up an assist to power the Rangers offense, but the story has been the rookie goalie.

“Obviously, two shutouts are great, but I will reinforce the fact that it wouldn’t have happened without the guys,” Shesterkin said. “They’re going down, blocking every shot, eating pucks. It never happens without them. We’re playing the right way. We’re taking it step by step and we’re trying to make the playoffs.”

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The Rangers remain four points behind the Bruins but are quietly closing the gap on some of the top teams in the division. They Penguins lost in a shootout to the Flyers 2-1 so the Blueshirts are 9 points in back of Pittsburgh as well. Meanwhile, the Islanders caught a big break with the Sabres knocking off the Capitals 5-2. Washington still remains in first over the Isles by two points.

Central Division battle for first a blast

The Carolina Hurricanes beat the red-hot Nashville Predators by a 4-1 score with Sebastian Aho picking up his 18th goal of the season. Then the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers battled into OT with Victor Hedman ending it 54 seconds in. Without a doubt the battle for first place in the Central Division is the most competitive and intriguing as these three teams duke it out.

Here’s a quick look at the race:

First Place: Hurricanes (60 pts/42 games)
First Place: Lightning (60 pts/43 games)
Second Place: Panthers (59 pts/44 games)

Nashville owes the Detroit Red Wings dinner as they knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 and maintain a 4 point lead for the last playoff spot. The Blue Jackets beat the Stars 4-1 to complete the Central action.

Finally, in the North Division Winnipeg knocked off Toronto by a 5-2 score. Nikolaj Ehlers scored twice and now has 20 goals on the season. The Jets offense was just a little too much for the Leafs who were without Auston Matthews. Toronto still holds first place by 3 points over Winnipeg.