June 18th, 2024

Penguins move into a playoff spot with 5-4 win over Lightning

By The Associated Press on April 7, 2024.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Michael Bunting (8) backhands a shot past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 6, 2024. The Penguins won 5-4. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Michael Bunting snapped a tie with 5:28 left in the third period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins moved into a playoff spot with a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Referee Steve Kozari was taken off the ice on a stretcher after colliding with Lightning defenseman Haydn Fleury 6:11 into the third period. Kozari was able to move his arms. Fleury did not return.

Evgeni Malkin had two goals and an assist for Pittsburgh, and Bunting also had two assists. Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang also scored.

Penguins goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 30 saves in his eighth straight start.

Pittsburgh posted its fourth straight win and improved to 6-0-2 in its last eight games overall. It is tied with Philadelphia for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference, with the Flyers visiting Columbus on Saturday night.

The Lightning, who clinched a playoff berth Friday when Philadelphia, Washington and Detroit lost in regulation, had won 10 of their previous 12.

BLACKHAWKS 3, STARS 2

CHICAGO (AP) – Connor Bedard, Andreas Athanasiou and Seth Jones scored in the second period, and Chicago stopped Dallas’ franchise-record win streak at eight games with a victory over the Stars.

Petr Mrazek made 42 saves for last-place Chicago, which improved to 8-6-0 in its last 14 games.

Roope Hintz scored his 29th goal for Central Division-leading Dallas, which dropped to 13-3-0 in its last 16 contests. Jamie Benn scored with 4:23 left, giving the Stars eight 20-goal scorers for the first time.

At 48-20-9 and 105 points, the Stars are three points ahead of second-place Colorado. The Stars and Avalanche meet in Denver on Sunday in what Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said was “our biggest game of the year” before Saturday’s loss. Dallas and Colorado have five games remaining.

BRUINS 3, PANTHERS 2, OT

BOSTON (AP) – Jesper Boqvist scored 2:05 into overtime, Linus Ullmark stopped 28 shots and the Boston Bruins beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Saturday in a matchup of the top two teams in the Atlantic Division.

First-place Boston moved five points ahead of second-place Florida. Both teams have four games left in the regular season – with the Panthers’ all at home.

Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle also scored for the Bruins, who improved to 5-1 since coach Jim Montgomery blasted the team during practice on March 25 for their lack of attention to details and not being prepared for the playoffs.

Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov scored for the Panthers, who lost for the fifth time in seven games. Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves.

JETS 4, WILD 2

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Vladislav Namestnikov had a goal and two assists, linemate Alex Iafallo a goal and an assist, and Winnipeg beat Minnesota.

Kyle Connor and Morgan Barron also scored, and Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for Winnipeg in the opener of a four-game trip.

The Jets, who clinched a playoff berth Thursday, are two points behind Colorado for second place in the Central Division. Each team has five games remaining including against each other April 13 in Denver.

Kirill Kaprizov scored twice and Mats Zuccarello had two assists for the Wild who are all but officially eliminated from playoff contention. Minnesota is 10points behind Los Angeles for the second Western Conference wild card with six games remaining.

SHARKS 3, BLUES 2

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – William Eklund scored in overtime to finish a hat trick, Devin Cooley made 34 saves in his first NHL win, and San Jose beat St. Louis.

Eklund buried a wrist shot on a 2-on-1 break 3:56 into overtime. The Sharks responded after the Blues came back from a 2-0 deficit in the third period on goals by Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn, who equalized at 17:31 after St. Louis pulled the goaltender for an extra skater.

Eklund scored two power-play goals minutes apart in the second period for the 21-year-old’s first multigoal game. Cooley, a Los Gatos native, got the win in his third career start.

The Sharks improved to 3-0 against the Blues this year and dealt another blow to St. Louis’ faint playoff hopes. The Blues entered the game seven points back of the Los Angeles Kings for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with six games to play.

BLUE JACKETS 6, FLYERS 2

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Damon Severson and Zach Werenski each scored twice, Jet Greaves had 37 saves and Columbus extended Philadelphias’ skid to seven games with a win.

Erik Gudbranson and Nick Blankenburg also scored for the injury-ravaged Blue Jackets, whose lines included seven players who were playing for American Hockey League affiliate in Cleveland a month ago.

With the patched-together lines, last-place Columbus has won three of its last four.

Olle Lycksell and Adam Ginning had goals and Samuel Errson made 28 saves for the reeling Flyers, who despite the skid remain in the thick of a tight race for third place in the Metropolitan Division and the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, CANADIENS 2

MONTREAL (AP) – Auston Matthews scored his league-leading 64th goal of the season in a four-goal second period and Toronto defeated archrival Montreal.

Matthews hit the 100-point mark for the second time in his career and extended his point streak to 10 games in the process.

The 26-year-old superstar is on pace for 69 goals, one shy of the 70-goal milestone that hasn’t been attained since Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny reached 76 in 1992-93. No one has scored 65 goals since Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08.

Bobby McMann, Matthew Knies and Max Domi also scored as Toronto spread the wealth on offense. Toronto clinched a spot in the playoffs while idle Friday.

DEVILS 4, SENATORS 3

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) – Brendan Smith had a goal and two assists and New Jersey snapped a three-game losing streak by holding on for a win over Ottawa.

Erik Haula, Ondrej Palat and Nico Hischier also scored for New Jersey, which won the season series 2-1. Jake Allen made 25 saves.

Jake Sanderson, Claude Giroux and Brady Tkachuk scored for Ottawa, which trailed 4-1 after two periods and has now lost three in a row.

Anton Forsberg got the start in net for Ottawa but was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals on just nine shots. Joonas Korpisalo allowed one goal and made 18 saves.

ISLANDERS 2, PREDATORS 0

NEW YORK (AP) – Semyon Varlamov had a season-high 40 saves for his third shutout of the season, and the New York Islanders beat Nashville, getting a crucial win in their playoff push.

Noah Dobson and Kyle Palmieri scored as the Islanders won their fourth straight to take a two-point lead over both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for third place in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins hold the second wild card while the Flyers are out of a playoff position. New York and Pittsburgh have five games remaining, one more than Philadelphia.

The 35-year-old Varlamov, who started four of the last six games, got his 41st career shutout and first since Nov. 2 against Washington.

The Islanders snapped a 10-game losing streak (0-8-2) against the Predators, dating back to Oct. 28, 2017.

KINGS 6, CANUCKS 3

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Adrian Kempe had two goals and an assist, Trevor Moore reached 30 goals for the first time in his career and the Los Angeles Kings got closer to wrapping up a playoff spot with a victory over Vancouver.

Los Angeles moved out of a wild card spot and the into third place in the Pacific Division with five games remaining in the regular season. The Kings have a one-point lead over Vegas and are eight points up on St. Louis, which is still vying for a playoff spot.

Drew Doughty and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist for Los Angeles, which has won three straight. Alex Laferriere also scored, Anze Kopitar had two assists and Cam Talbot stopped 39 shots.

Brock Boeser gpt his 39th goal for Vancouver. The forward is one away from becoming the 10th player in franchise history to reach 40 in a season.

Dakota Joshua and Teddy Blueger also scored and J.T. Miller extended his point streak to seven games with an assist. Casey DeSmith made 23 saves.

OILERS 4, FLAMES 2

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) – Evan Bouchard scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period, and Edmonton beat Calgary.

Leon Draisaitl, Connor Brown and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for Edmonton, which is 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Calvin Pickard stopped 33 shots to improve to 12-6-0.

Draisaitl reached 40 goals for the third straight season and fifth time in his career. That puts him third behind Wayne Gretzky (nine) and Jari Kurri (seven).

The Oilers climbed within three points of Vancouver for first place in the Pacific Division. They have a game in hand on the Canucks, who lost 6-3 at Los Angeles.

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