Hockey / Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Matt Calvert (11) checks Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) into the boards during the first period of Game 6 of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Monday, April 28, 2014. (Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch/MCT)

Penguins hold off Blue Jackets rally for 4-3 win; claim series

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Pittsburgh Penguins sewed up their first-round playoff series with a 4-3 win over Columbus on the strength of a hat trick by Evgeni Malkin and despite a three-goal third period by the Blue Jackets.

The Penguins won the series, 4-2, to advance to the second round, where they will play the New York Rangers or the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers lead that series, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday.

The victory was marred by injuries to two Penguins forwards. Brandon Sutter, who had a goal in the game, was limping badly when he left the game in the second period. Joe Vitale appeared to get a right knee injury when he collided with Columbus' Blake Comeau. There was no immediate update on their status.

The Penguins dominated the first period and got two goals from Malkin, who broke a nine-game playoff goal drought dating to last season.

Malkin made it 1-0 at 9:11 of the first period when he converted a nice feed from the far corner from Chris Kunitz.

Sidney Crosby set up Malkin for a power-play goal from the high slot at 13:13 of the first period to increase the Penguins' lead to 2-0. Kunitz screened Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky on the play.

The Penguins were shorthanded for the first 28 seconds of the second period, and they scored six seconds after the Columbus power play ended.

Sutter took the puck from James Wisniewski as Wisniewski was trying to keep the puck in the Penguins zone at the right point. Sutter took off and was joined by Lee Stempniak coming out of the penalty box for a two-on-none breakaway.

Sutter kept the puck and scored on a backhander for a 3-0 lead at 0:34.

Malkin completed his hat trick when he scored from the left dot on a two-on-one with James Neal, making it 4-0 at 15:22 of the second period.

Fedor Tyutin broke up a shutout bid by Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with a shot over Fleury's right shoulder to cut Columbus' deficit to 4-1 on a shorthanded goal at 10:21 of the third period.

Artem Anisimov's shot from the left point went in off of Brandon Dubinsky during a Columbus power play at 13:54 to cut the lead to 4-2.

The Blue Jackets made it even more interesting when Nick Foligno, from the low slot, directed a shot by Tyutin under Fleury to make it 4-3 at 15:13.

(c)2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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