Guentzel wins it in OT as Pens, Caps clinch playoffs

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Jake Guentzel scored his twenty second aim 2:11 into extra time to elevate the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night time in a outcome that clinched each groups’ place in the playoffs.

Guentzel’s winner on a one-time redirection of John Marino’s cross got here after Washington’s Tom Wilson compelled extra time with 14.3 seconds to play.

The outcome, mixed with the New York Islanders’ regulation win over the New York Rangers, ensures each groups will probably be among the many Eastern Division’s 4 playoff groups.

“We’re going to enjoy this one tonight,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan stated. “By no means are any of us satisfied — we understand there’s a lot of work to do here. But we’re going to take a deep breath tonight and enjoy it.”

Kasperi Kapanen scored his ninth and tenth objectives of the season, Frederick Gaudreau added a aim in his return from harm and Zach Aston-Reese additionally scored for the Penguins, who’ve now received 5 of their seven conferences with the Capitals.

Colton Sceviour and Jared McCann every had two assists for Pittsburgh.

T.J. Oshie scored his 18th aim, Daniel Sprung added his fourth in three video games. Dmitry Orlov additionally scored and had an help for Washington earlier than Wilson’s late leveler.

Nicklas Backstrom had three assists and Justin Schultz had two for the Capitals, who wouldn’t have clinched their spot with a loss in regulation.

“I think we shot ourselves in the foot a couple times, just with the puck, and it ended up in the back of the net,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette stated. “I thought we were able to get some looks, and I thought we were pretty good defensively. But the mistakes that we made, they cost us.”

Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry made 33 saves and Washington’s Vitek Vanacek made 30 stops.

Kapanen gave his workforce the lead halfway by way of the third. McCann noticed him breaking down the precise with a cross-ice cross, and along with his defender beat, Kapanen lifted a shot over Vanacek’s blocker facet into the highest proper nook to make it 4-3.

Wilson leveled it on a 6-on-5. Evgeny Kuznetsov tracked down his personal miss, then spun and snuck a good feed to him in entrance of the crease, and Wilson lifted a shot over Jarry’s shoulder.

“It’s never good when you give up a goal like that within the last, how many seconds there,” Guentzel stated. “But you’ve just got to look at it (as), you’ve got a point, and you’ve got to try to get the next one. You’ve got to move by it pretty quick.”

TRAINERS ROOM

Penguins: RW Evan Rodrigues needed to be helped off the ice halfway by way of the primary interval after he was caught in the decrease left leg by teammate Mike Matheson’s shot try. … Evgeny Malkin (decrease physique) participated in Pittsburgh’s morning skate. … Gaudreau (decrease physique) returned after lacking seven video games.

Capitals: LW Alex Ovechkin (decrease physique) missed his third straight recreation, and D John Carlson (decrease physique) was held out as a game-time determination. … Schultz (decrease physique) missed Washington’s earlier three video games earlier than his return Thursday.

ALWAYS DRAMA

Of the Penguins’ 5 wins in the season collection, this was the fourth through extra time or shootout. Afterward, either side stated Thursday’s contest had a postseason really feel.

“I think these last couple games have been playoff-style hockey,” Guentzel stated. “There might not be as much ice out there and it’s just two teams who are defending hard.”

Said Laviolette: “I know that when we play them, we’re planning to play a certain way. It has to be in order for us to find success. I’d imagine they’d probably say the same things. It’s just one of those games where there’s not a lot of room. You have to compete for everything.”

STREAKS STALLED

Oshie’s aim on a first-period energy play snapped a stretch of 9 profitable Pittsburgh penalty kills towards Washington, the NHL’s second-best membership on the person benefit.

Meanwhile, Kapanen’s tying aim later in the interval was the primary allowed at even energy by a Capitals goaltender for the reason that second interval of a 6-3 loss to Boston on April 18, a stretch of 222 minutes and 42 seconds.

UP NEXT

The Penguins and Capitals meet once more in Washington Saturday, finishing their season collection.

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