COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Pittsburgh Penguins have struggled at times in an injury-filled season.
When a game is in the balance, however, they still have the personnel and the experience to end up with the two points.
Chris Kunitz and Beau Bennett scored goals 47 seconds apart midway through the third period and Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves and the Penguins clinched a playoff spot with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
“I thought to a man we stepped up,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said after his team ended a string of three regulation defeats. “We’re fighting for every inch we can get right now. Tonight, this was exactly what we’ve talked about and wanted from this game. It was a playoff-type game, with playoff-type intensity.”
The Penguins are now at 99 points to move closer to clinching the Metropolitan Division title.
But it was far from easy, particularly without star forward Evgeni Malkin (foot) and other injured mainstays such as Paul Martin, Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang.
Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 2
In Philadelphia, Vinny Lecavalier, Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds scored goals, leading the Flyers over Toronto.
Flames 4, Rangers 3
In Calgary, Mike Cammalleri had a goal and an assist to lead the Flames over New York.
Cammalleri has scored 10 times since the NHL’s trade deadline on March 5 and four of them have been winners, including his goal with 7.8 seconds left in the second period.
Oilers 4, Ducks 3 (OT)
In Edmonton, Andrew Ference scored at 3:51 of overtime and Ben Scrivens stopped 48 shots and the Oilers pulled off an upset of Anaheim.
Senators 5, Blackhawks 3
In Ottawa, Craig Anderson had 46 saves and Clarke MacArthur had a goal and two assists and the Senators beat Chicago.
Stars 7, Predators 3
In Dallas, seven Stars players put the puck past Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne.
Alex Goligoski had three assists, tying his career high.