NHL - Pittsburgh and Sharks advance

Reuters - Sun, 25 Apr 08:27:00 2010

Matt Cooke scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins fought back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in overtime and win their first round NHL play-off series.

Penguins Dupuis celebrates his goal against the Senators with teammates during their NHL Eastern Conference - 0

Pascal Dupuis scored the winning goal at 9:56 in the first period of overtime to seal victory for the Stanley Cup champions, who had trailed 3-0 midway through the second period.

The top-seeded San Jose Sharks also advanced, eliminating the Colorado Avalanche thanks to a 5-2 win in game six of their Western Conference series.

Center Joe Pavelski had two goals for the Sharks, his second at 9:02 in the third period giving San Jose a 3-2 lead.

In other action, the Chicago Blackhawks beat the visiting Nashville Predators 5-4 in overtime to take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference series.

Chicago's Patrick Kane scored a shorthanded goal with 13.6 seconds to go to tie the game before Marian Hossa scored in overtime.

In Canada, Ottawa had initially looked the sharper of the two sides, who had played into the third period of overtime in Thursday's game five in Pittsburgh before the Senators won 4-3.

Matt Cullen scored from a breakaway 5:19 into the first period, Chris Neil netted from close range 1:51 into the second period and when captain Daniel Alfredsson scored with a wrist shot almost eight minutes later, the game looked over.

Cooke, however, sparked the comeback just over a minute later when he scored from close range.

"If you're down 3-0 you need a little wake up call and we have some leaders in the locker room who stepped up in the second intermission. It was big for us," said Dupuis.

Pittsburgh came out stronger in the third period, with Bill Guerin scoring a power play goal at 7:03 before Cooke tied the game at 3-3 from close range five minutes later.

"One of the things we talk about going into the playoffs is maintaining the focus and staying unflappable whatever comes our way, tonight was probably our best game in that regard," Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said.

"There were points where it was difficult to handle in terms of the score but our guys were rock solid."

Ottawa head coach Cory Clouston refused to blame his players, saying he was proud of their effort.

"We have a lot of character," Clouston said. "We don't quit. We battled right to the end."


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