Penguins reach the playoffs in NHL

The Pittsburgh Penguins clinch an NHL playoff spot following a nervous 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    The Penguins are now at 99 points, moving closer to clinching the Metropolitan Division title [AFP]
    The Penguins are now at 99 points, moving closer to clinching the Metropolitan Division title [AFP]

    Chris Kunitz and Beau Bennett scored goals midway through the third period as the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched an NHL playoff spot with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    James Wisniewski scored a power-play goal for Columbus with 3:06 minutes left, but Pittsburgh hung on as Fleury made huge saves on Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson during a scrum in the final seconds.

    "We're fighting for every inch we can get right now," coach Dan Bylsma said after his team ended a string of three regulation defeats.

    "Tonight, this was exactly what we've talked about and wanted from this game. It was a playoff-type game, with playoff-type intensity."

    Curtis McElhinney, taking the place of the ill Sergei Bobrovsky, stopped the first 28 Penguins shots before Kunitz notched his 34th with 9:25 minutes left.

    The Penguins are now at 99 points, moving closer to clinching the Metropolitan Division title.

    Ducks miss out

    The Anaheim Ducks, meanwhile, missed an opportunity to move into a tie with San Jose for first in the Pacific Division, falling to the last-place Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in overtime.

    Andrew Ference scored in overtime and Ben Scrivens stopped 48 shots for Edmonton, which ended a three-game skid.

    The Ducks remain one win short of tying their club record of 48 wins in a season, set in 2006-07 when they won the Stanley Cup.

    The Dallas Stars had seven different players score goals in their 7-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.

    After Nashville pulled within 5-3 in the third period on Eric Nystrom's goal, Valeri Nichushkin and Cody Eakin scored nine seconds apart to give the Stars a four-goal cushion.

    Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Flyers topped the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2, the Calgary Flames ended New York's winning streak at five games, beating the Rangers 4-3, and the Ottawa Senators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3.

    SOURCE: AP


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