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Penguins top Isles to seal 16th straight playoff berth

Apr 12, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith (1) makes a save against New York Islanders left wing Zach Parise (11) in the first round of the shootout at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Guentzel had two goals and two assists Thursday as the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a playoff spot with a 6-3 win over the visiting New York Islanders.

Sidney Crosby added a goal and two assists, Kris Letang, Danton Heinen and Brock McGinn also scored and Teddy Blueger added two assists for the Penguins (43-22-11, 97 points). Pittsburgh is headed to the playoffs for the 16th consecutive year, the longest active streak in the four major North American pro sports leagues.

Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry, who had lost five straight starts, made 36 saves.

Zach Parise, Anders Lee and Zdeno Chara scored while Brock Nelson recorded two assists for the Islanders (34-30-9, 77 points), who had won six of eight.

New York goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 22 saves.

Letang opened the scoring for Pittsburgh at 4:59 of the first period. Guentzel, from deep, fed Letang at the left point. Letang moved a little to his right, then beat Sorokin on a screened shot.

At 8:52 of the first, Heinen upped the Penguins’ lead to 2-0. Brian Boyle found him for a long breakaway as Heinen came out of the penalty box after serving a slashing minor, and the center beat Sorokin between the pads.

Parise cut it to 2-1 at 5:51 of the second period. Mathew Barzal carried the puck up the left side and deep into the Pittsburgh end, then curled back out toward the slot before passing over to Parise in the lower part of the right circle. Parise put a shot past Jarry’s glove.

At 12:10 of the second, Guentzel restored the Penguins’ two-goal edge. On a two-on-one against Chara, Crosby got a pass through to Guentzel, whose shot from the right circle went between Chara’s skates and past Sorokin far side to make it 3-1.

With a two-on-none after an Islanders turnover, Guentzel and Crosby played give-and-go, with Crosby squeaking the puck inside the right post to make it 4-1 at 10:44 of the third period.

That gave Crosby 80 points on the season.

Lee jammed the puck in from a crowd at 17:23 of the third, McGinn scored an empty-netter 36 seconds later, and Chara made it 5-3 with 1:08 left on a blast from the left-wing boards.

Guentzel added another empty-netter with 9.2 seconds left.

–Field Level Media