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Penguins clinch spot in playoffs with win

PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin scored twice, James Neal had four assists and the Penguins clinched a playoff spot with a 5-1 win over the Predators on Thursday.

Pittsburgh pulled within a point of the Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves for his league-leading 40th victory.

Nashville's Alexander Radulov scored in his return to the NHL after four years in Russia, but the Penguins picked apart goalie Pekka Rinne. Rinne, tied with Fleury entering the game for the wins lead, allowed two goals in the first five minutes.

"This team is capable of great things," said Pittsburgh's Pascal Dupuis, who also scored.

Malkin's second goal, his 45th, pushed his league-leading point total to 95.

game highlights: The Capitals' 2-1 shootout loss to the host Flyers was good for a point that broke a points tie with the idle Sabres for the East's final playoff spot. Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers to move past the Lightning's Steven Stamkos into second in the points race with 85.

around the league: Canucks leading goal scorer Daniel Sedin is out indefinitely after taking an elbow to the head from Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith on Wednesday, the team said. Keith has a disciplinary hearing with the league today. … The league is ready to begin negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement — the current one expires Sept. 15 — but the players union hasn't indicated it is, commissioner Gary Bettman said. … A Flyers fan accused of beating two Rangers fans in a brawl after the Jan. 2 Winter Classic in Philadelphia will be tried on assault charges.

at Penguins 2 2 1 5
Predators 0 1 0 1

First Period1, Pitts, Malkin 44 (Neal, Letang), 1:23. 2, Pitts, Dupuis 22 (Letang, Sullivan), 4:06. PenaltiesWeber, Nas (interfere), 19:01; Malkin, Pit (tripping), 19:26.

Second3, Pitts, Cooke 17 (Neal), 1:58. 4, Pitts, Kunitz 22 (Neal, Orpik), 7:35. 5, Nash, Radulov 1 (Gill, Hornqvist), 12:01. PenaltiesCrosby, Pit (high-stick), 19:04.

Third6, Pitts, Malkin 45 (Neal, Kunitz), 2:03. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalNash 9-10-11—30. Pitts 8-8-7—23. Power-play opportunitiesNash 0 of 2; Pitts 0 of 1. GoaliesNash, Rinne 39-16-8 (23 shots-18 saves). Pitts, Fleury 40-14-4 (30-29).

at Flyers 0 1 0 0 2
Capitals 1 0 0 0 1
Flyers win shootout 2-1

First Period1, Wash, Ovechkin 33, :26. PenaltiesTimonen, Phi (boarding), 4:11.

Second2, Phila, Giroux 27 (Jagr, Lilja), 6:05. PenaltiesGiroux, Phi (interference), 18:56.

ThirdNone. PenaltiesHalpern, Was (hold), 1:56. OT None. PenaltiesNone. ShootoutWash 1 (Hendricks G, Ovechkin NG, Aucoin NG, Brouwer NG), Phila 2 (Read G, Giroux NG, Briere NG, Simmonds G). Missed Penalty ShotJohansson, Was, 12:58 second. ShotsWash 12-10-9-0—31. Phila 11-7-8-2—28. PP oppsWash 0 of 2; Phila 0 of 1. GoaliesWash, Holtby 1-1-1 (28 shots-27 saves). Phila, Bryzgalov 31-14-7 (31-30).

Canucks 1 0 1 2
at Stars 0 0 1 1

First Period1, Van, Raymond 9 (Hamhuis, H.Sedin), 4:46. PenaltiesBurrows, Van (slashing), 5:21; Morrow, Dal (roughing), 5:21; Weise, Van, major (fighting), 9:21; Dowell, Dal, major (fighting), 9:21; Alberts, Van (unsportsmanlike conduct), 12:05; Ott, Dal (unsportsmanlike conduct), 12:05; Souray, Dal (roughing), 16:43.

SecondNone. PnltiesKassian, Van (interfere), 4:48; Ribeiro, Dal (hold), 10:27; Ribeiro, Dal (slash), 13:29; Robidas, Dal (hook), 14:23; Burrows, Van (hold), 15:20.

Third2, Van, Bieksa 8 (Raymond, H.Sedin), 4:18. 3, Dal, Fiddler 8 (Nystrom, Lehtonen), 7:44. PenaltiesHansen, Van, double minor (roughing), 6:20; Ryder, Dal, double minor (roughing), 6:20; Bieksa, Van (high-stick), 19:15. Missed Penalty ShotRibeiro, Dal, 12:55 second. ShotsVan 11-10-7—28. Dal 7-11-8—26. PP oppsVan 0 of 4; Dal 0 of 3. GoaliesVan, Schneider 17-7-1 (26 shots-25 saves). Dal, Lehtonen 30-17-4 (28-26).

at Wild 0 1 1 0 3
Flames 1 1 0 0 2
Wild wins shootout 1-0

First Period1, Cal, Stempniak 13 (Butler, Bouwmeester), 18:54 (pp). PenaltiesKoivu, Min (hooking), 7:28; Tanguay, Cal (elbowing), 7:57; Stoner, Min (delay of game), 10:57; Kampfer, Min (interference), 16:59.

Second2, Cal, Babchuk 1, 1:38 (pp). 3, Minn, Heatley 21 (Setoguchi, Cullen), 8:36 (pp). PenaltiesGilbert, Min, double minor (high-stick), :25; Prosser, Min (closing hand on puck), :55; Glencross, Cal (slash), 8:15; Bouwmeester, Cal (interfer), 12:38; Comeau, Cal (high-stick), 14:13.

Third4, Minn, Powe 5 (Johnson, Brodziak), 12:23. PenaltiesButler, Cal (high-stick), 6:32; Moss, Cal (slash), 16:25. OTNone. PenaltiesNone. ShootoutCal 0 (Stajan NG, Stempniak NG, Jones NG, Comeau NG), Minn 1 (Christensen NG, Cullen NG, Koivu NG, Setoguchi G). ShotsCal 17-9-3-0—29. Minn 4-12-12-2—30. PP oppsCal 2 of 6; Minn 1 of 6. GoaliesCal, Kiprusoff 33-19-11 (30 shots-28 saves). Minn, Harding 11-10-4 (29-27).

Penguins clinch spot in playoffs with win 03/22/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 23, 2012 12:58am]

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