April 1, 2018 / 2:13 AM / 8 months ago

Penguins clinch playoff spot with win over Canadiens

EditorsNote: Corrections throughout

Phil Kessel and Riley Sheahan each had a goal and an assist as the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a playoff berth with a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin and Conor Sheary also scored goals and Evgeni Malkin added a pair of assists for Pittsburgh (45-28-6, 96 points), which qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs a franchise-record 12th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the NHL.

Matt Murray finished with 24 saves and Sidney Crosby registered his 58th assist of the season for the Penguins, who improved to 29-8-2 at home. Crosby also won 22 of 24 faceoffs in the contest.

Jeff Petry and Jonathan Drouin scored goals and Brendan Gallagher had two assists for Montreal, which fell to 10-25-4 on the road, the fewest road wins in the NHL. Antti Niemi, waived by the Penguins in October, had 28 saves for Montreal.

Petry gave the Canadiens an early 1-0 lead when he fired a shot from the right boards that went through traffic in front of the net and clanged in off the far post for his 11th goal of the season.

Pittsburgh answered with three goals over a five-minute span. Sheary started the flurry when he slapped in a Sheahan pass from behind the net that got past Niemi’s glove.

Hornqvist gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead just 37 seconds later with his team-high 15th power-play goal of the season, backhanding in his own rebound for his 200th career goal and 26th of the season.

Hagelin then made it 3-1 when he flicked in his own rebound off the back of Niemi while skating behind the net. Drouin answered with a power-play goal with 10.8 seconds left in the period, beating Murray with a wrist shot just inside the far post from the left circle for his 13th goal of the season.

Kessel and Sheahan then sealed the win with power-play goals just 1:49 apart midway through the third period. It was the 11th power-play goal of the season for Kessel, who now has 31 goals for the season.

—Field Level Media

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