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Penguins win finale, will face Rangers in playoffs

Sportsnaut
Apr 5, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan gestures on the bench against the Colorado Avalanche during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. Colorado won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Pettersson had a goal and two assists Friday to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-3 win over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets, clinching third place in the Metropolitan Division.

It was the regular-season finale for both.

Evgeni Malkin and Brian Boyle each added a goal and an assist, Evan Rodrigues and Kris Letang also scored and Teddy Blueger had two assists for the Penguins (46-25-11, 103 points), who scored three times in the first 6 1/2 minutes and locked up a meeting with the New York Rangers to open the playoffs.

Pittsburgh goaltender Casey DeSmith made 34 saves.

Justin Danforth, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Gustav Nyquist scored, and Jakub Voracek had two assists for the Blue Jackets (37-38-7, 81 points), who lost 14 of their last 19.

Columbus goaltender J-F Berube allowed three goals on eight shots before being pulled for Elvis Merzlikins, who made 40 saves on 42 attempts.

Malkin opened the scoring at 3:51 of the first period. Berube stopped Pettersson’s wrap-around attempt, but Malkin punched the rebound between the goalie’s pads.

At 5:31 of the first, Rodrigues made it 2-0 as he ripped a one-timer off a feed from Jake Guentzel.

Pettersson scored his second goal of the season 55 seconds later to up the score to 3-0. From the lower part of the right circle, off a feed from Malkin, he squeezed a shot past Berube’s glove.

That ended Berube’s night.

Danforth cut it to 3-1 at 10:25 of the second. A shot by Gabriel Carlsson squeezed through DeSmith’s pads and Danforth dove to push it across.

At 16:30 of the second, Letang reached a career-high 68 points when he converted a pass from Brock McGinn to make it 4-1.

A shot by Pettersson went in off Boyle’s knee in front with 1:06 left in the second to increase Pittsburgh’s lead to 5-1.

Bjorkstrand scored for the fourth straight game about seven minutes into the third period and Nyquist added a power-play goal of his own five minutes later, but it was too little, too late.

–Field Level Media