After spending most of the previous two games watching from the bench, Florida's Jose Theodore sent the New Jersey Devils to the brink of elimination.
Theodore made 30 saves for his second postseason shutout, Kris Versteeg scored a goal, and used a burst of speed to set up another, and the Panthers moved a win away from their first series triumph in 16 years with a 3-0 home victory over the Devils on Saturday night.
Senators blank Rangers
Craig Anderson stopped 41 shots to make Jason Spezza's first-period goal stand up, and the Ottawa Senators pushed the top-seeded New York Rangers to the brink of elimination with a 2-0 road victory in Game 5.
The Senators, the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, have won two straight and will have a chance to knock out the Rangers on Monday night in Ottawa. If New York can stay alive, the deciding Game 7 would be back at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
Capitals edge Bruins
Troy Brouwer scored on a power play with 1:27 left, giving the visiting Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory Saturday and moving the defending champion Boston Bruins a loss away from elimination.
Brouwer gave the Capitals a 3-2 series lead with his second goal of the playoffs, beating goalie Tim Thomas over the glove with a wrist shot from the right circle. It came with 37 seconds left on a slashing penalty against Benoit Pouliot.
The Capitals can wrap up the best-of-seven series at home Sunday.
Blues oust Sharks
Jamie Langenbrunner and David Perron scored in a 45-second span in the third period, and the host St. Louis Blues woke up in time to put away the San Jose Sharks, 3-1, and wrap up the first-round series in five games.
Joe Thornton scored in the final minute of the second period for San Jose, and the Sharks were seemingly in control before the flurry that ended their season.
Torres ban: 25 games
A blindside hit, a history of violence, and a leaguewide crackdown on rough play earned Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres one of the longest suspensions in NHL history.
Torres was suspended 25 games by the league and will miss the rest of the playoffs, and most likely games next season, for a late hit that resulted in Chicago's Marian Hossa's being taken off the ice on a stretcher.
Torres' suspension is the longest for an on-ice offense since New York Islanders forward Chris Simon was banned 30 games for stomping on the ankle of Pittsburgh's Jarrko Ruutu in December 2007.
It also matches the second-longest suspension: Simon also was suspended 25 games for his two-handed stick attack to the face of New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg in 2007, and so was the Flyers' Jesse Boulerice for cross-checking Vancouver center Ryan Kesler across the face in 2007.
As a repeat offender, Torres would forfeit $21,341 in salary for every regular-season game he sits out.
- Associated Press