The Pittsburgh Penguins finished off a successful weekend with a 4-1 home victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night, and now find themselves within one win of clinching the NHL Metropolitan Division title, which would give them no worse than the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Sunday victory followed a 2-1 triumph in Columbus on Friday night which assured the Pens that they would be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which will begin April 16.
In Sunday’s win, James Neal and Lee Stempniak scored goals just 21 seconds apart in the middle of the first period, and Sidney Crosby tallied his 35th and 36th goals of the season in the last five minutes of the game. Crosby leads the NHL with 99 points. Marc-Andre Fleury (36-17-4) stopped 35 of 36 shots to earn the win.
For Chicago (42-19-15), only Sheldon Brookbank scored. Corey Crawford took the loss.
On Friday in Columbus, Chris Kunitz and Beau Bennett teamed to break a scoreless tie with goals that came 47 seconds apart midway through the third period. Kunitz’s goal was his 34th. Bennett scored in his first game since missing fifty contests following surgery on a broken wrist. Fleury earned the win with 35 saves.
James Wisniewski scored for the Blue Jackets on a power play shot with 3:06 remaining in the game. Backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney took the loss, replacing Sergei Bobrovsky who was sick.
Pittsburgh (48-22-5) will host Carolina Tuesday night at 7:00 PM at Consol Energy Center. Radio pregame airtime on 96.3 KQW will be 6:30 PM.