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Capsules: Penguins eliminate Blue Jackets with 5-2 win

  • Pittsburgh Penguins' Phil Kessel (81) celebrates his goal with Patric Hornqvist (72) and Sidney Crosby (87) during the first period in Game 5 of an NHL first-round hockey playoff series against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Pittsburgh, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Gene J. Puskar

  • Columbus Blue Jackets' Josh Anderson (34) can't get a shot to go in over Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the first period in Game 5 of an NHL first-round hockey playoff series in Pittsburgh, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Gene J. Puskar

  • Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky blocks a shot during the first period in Game 5 of the team's NHL first-round hockey playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Gene J. Puskar

  • Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre-Fleury (29) stops a shot by Columbus Blue Jackets Matt Calvert (11) during the first period in Game 5 of an NHL first-round hockey playoff series in Pittsburgh, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Gene J. Puskar

  • New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei (76) celebrates with Kevin Hayes (13) and Jimmy Vesey (26) after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period of Game 5 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP) Ryan Remiorz

  • New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) stops a shot from Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk (27) during the third period of Game 5 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP) Ryan Remiorz

  • Montreal Canadiens right wing Alexander Radulov (47) and New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) vie for control for the puck during the second period of Game 5 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) Paul Chiasson

  • Montreal Canadiens left wing Dwight King (21) is slashed by New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) as Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) watches during the second period of Game 5 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP) Ryan Remiorz

  • Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price dives to make a save against the New York Rangers during the second period of Game 5 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP) Ryan Remiorz



Associated Press
Thursday, April 20, 2017

PITTSBURGH – Sidney Crosby and Scott Wilson scored 51 seconds apart in the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5-2 win in Game 5 of their first-round series on Thursday night.

Bryan Rust scored twice for Pittsburgh, Phil Kessel added his second of the playoffs and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 49 saves. The defending Stanley Cup champions will face the winner of the Toronto-Washington series in the conference semifinals starting next week.

William Karlsson and Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets, but Sergei Bobrovsky stopped just 27 of 32 shots to finish a forgettable series.

Columbus trailed by three in the second period but had a potential tying goal waved off in the third for interference. Pittsburgh responded immediately. Crosby’s one-timer on the power play restored a two-goal lead and Wilson’s backhand less than a minute later finished off the Blue Jackets.

Columbus avoided being swept with a spirited 5-4 win on Tuesday, extending the series by playing with the kind of desperation Pittsburgh Coach Mike Sullivan insisted his team needed if it wanted to get some rest before the second round.

It’s a refrain Sullivan has preached repeatedly over the last couple weeks and once again, the Penguins didn’t listen.

And once again, they were able to get away with it thanks to Fleury. He fended off 15 shots in the first period alone, several of them from point-blank range. It gave the Penguins time to find their legs, and Kessel’s wrist shot from the top of the circle 9:07 into the first put Pittsburgh in front.

When Rust scored twice less than three minutes apart early in the second – both of them on backhand rebounds – the Penguins appeared to be in control.

The Blue Jackets, trying to extend a breakthrough season that included a franchise-record 108 points and the sixth-best record in the league, showed one last flash. Karlsson and Jenner beat Fleury twice in 2:54 at the game’s midway point and Columbus was right back in it.

The surge ended when Fleury flopped to the ground after Alex Wenneberg clipped the goaltender as he fought off a check in the crease five minutes into the third. Columbus coach John Tortorella and the rest of the Blue Jackets bench erupted in anger. Things only got worse for Columbus when Crosby powered a shot from just above the goal line by Bobrovsky. Wilson pushed the lead to three when he casually tapped a backhand by a woefully out of position Bobrovsky.

The Russian led the NHL in goals-against average (2.06) and save percentage (.931) during the regular season but couldn’t keep the league’s highest-scoring team in check. Pittsburgh scored at least three goals in all five games and at least four in four of them to leave the Blue Jackets still searching for their first playoff series victory.

It’s become old hat in Pittsburgh, which will have some time to rest before beginning the next step in its title defense.

Predators 4, Blackhawks 1

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Roman Josi scored twice, Pekka Rinne had 30 saves and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks to complete a surprising sweep of the Western Conference’s top seed.

Colton Sissons also scored and Viktor Arvidsson added an empty-net goal as Nashville completed the franchise’s first playoff sweep. Led by Rinne and a terrific defensive performance by their lines and defensive pairings, the Predators limited the high-scoring Blackhawks to just three goals in 13 periods.

Nashville will face the winner of the St. Louis-Minnesota series in the second round. The Blues have a 3-1 lead heading into Game 5 on Saturday in Minnesota.

Rangers 3, Canadiens 2, OT

MONTREAL – Mika Zibanejad scored at 14:22 of overtime to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.

Chris Kreider’s shot on a rush went off Alexei Emelin’s stick right to Zibanejad for a shot into an open side.

The Rangers grabbed the lead in the best-of-seven series and will look to advance when they host Game 6 on Saturday.

Jesper Fast and Brady Skjei also scored for New York. Artturi Lehkonen scored and set up a goal by Brendan Gallagher in the first period for Montreal.