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Penguins clinch Atlantic by beating Hurricanes, 5-3

Published April 9, 2013 10:51 pm

Day in the NHL • Ovechkin scores 26th goal as Caps win fifth straight.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Raleigh, N.C. • Beau Bennett and Evgeni Malkin scored 13 seconds apart in the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division title by beating the free-falling Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Brenden Morrow scored his first goal with the Penguins, Robert Bortuzzo added a goal, and Pascal Dupuis had an empty-netter and two assists. Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves for Penguins, who were without a handful of regulars — including captain Sidney Crosby, James Neal and Kris Letang — but still had plenty of timely firepower to hand the Hurricanes their club-record eighth straight home loss.

Joe Corvo and Bobby Sanguinetti scored early goals for the Hurricanes, and Riley Nash put them up 3-2 exactly 2 minutes into the third.

Bennett tied it with 10:11 left by slipping a backhand past Justin Peters, and Malkin scored with 9:58 left by poking the rebound of Jarome Iginla's shot past Peters.

Dupuis scored into an empty net with 1.9 seconds left.

Peters made 28 saves for Carolina, which lost its sixth straight and for the 13th time in 14 games.

These teams have gone in opposite directions since their last meeting — a 4-1 Carolina win at home over the listless-at-the-time Penguins on Feb. 28.

Pittsburgh responded by winning 17 of 19, including a 15-game winning streak that ended last week, to take control of the Eastern Conference.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, descended into one of the worst slumps in club history — one that has enveloped nearly one-third of the compressed 48-game schedule.

Capitals 3, Canadiens 2 • In Montreal, Alex Ovechkin scored his 26th goal and Jack Hillen got his first as Washington stretched its winning run to five games.

Eric Fehr also scored for the Southwest Division-leading Capitals, who are 6-0-1 in their last seven. They are a perfect 5-0 in April, during which Ovechkin has eight goals and Nicklas Backstrom, who had two assists, has 11 points, all assists.

Lars Eller scored both goals for Montreal, which lost for only the second time in seven games. It was Montreal's first loss to a Southeast team (11-1-0) in 2013, but the Capitals always play well at the Bell Centre, where they are 6-0-1 in their last seven visits. EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic Division

GP W L OT Pts GF GA

y-Pttsbrgh 40 30 10 0 60 132 98

Islanders 40 20 16 4 44 117 120

Rangers 39 19 16 4 42 96 94

New Jersey 39 15 14 10 40 92 106

Philly 39 17 19 3 37 107 122

Northeast Division

GP W L OT Pts GF GA

Montreal 39 25 9 5 55 122 94

Boston 38 25 9 4 54 108 81

Toronto 39 22 13 4 48 121 109

Ottawa 39 19 14 6 44 96 88

Buffalo 40 16 18 6 38 106 122

Southeast Division

GP W L OT Pts GF GA

Wash. 40 21 17 2 44 120 112

Winnipeg 41 20 19 2 42 102 121

Tampa Bay 39 17 20 2 36 124 116

Carolina 39 16 21 2 34 102 126

Florida 39 13 20 6 32 96 132

NOTE: Two points for a win, one point for overtime loss.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Central Division

GP W L OT Pts GF GA

x-Chicago 39 30 5 4 64 129 83

St. Louis 38 22 14 2 46 107 98

Detroit 39 19 15 5 43 99 101

Columbus 40 17 16 7 41 95 104

Nashville 41 15 18 8 38 96 110

Northwest Division

GP W L OT Pts GF GA

Vancouver 39 22 11 6 50 105 95

Minnesota 39 22 15 2 46 103 98

Edmonton 39 16 16 7 39 101 108

Calgary 38 14 20 4 32 102 134

Colorado 39 12 22 5 29 90 124

Pacific Division

GP W L OT Pts GF GA

Anaheim 40 27 8 5 59 123 99

L.A. 40 22 14 4 48 115 101

San Jose 39 20 12 7 47 98 98

Dallas 39 19 17 3 41 109 118

Phoenix 39 17 16 6 40 105 106

x-clinched playoff berth

Tuesday's Games

N.Y. Islanders 4, Philadelphia 1

Pittsburgh 5, Carolina 3

Columbus 4, San Jose 0

Washington 3, Montreal 2

Tampa Bay 3, Ottawa 2

Winnipeg 4, Buffalo 1

St. Louis 1, Nashville 0

Chicago 1, Minnesota 0

Dallas 5, Los Angeles 1

Wednesday's games

Toronto at N.Y. Rangers, 5 p.m.

Boston at New Jersey, 5:30 p.m.

Vancouver at Calgary, 7:30 p.m.

Phoenix at Edmonton, 7:30 p.m.

Colorado at Anaheim, 8 p.m.