NHL - Penguins cruise into playoffs

Reuters - Sun, 28 Mar 08:05:00 2010

Defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins qualified for the playoffs with a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

ICE HOCKEY Pittsburgh Penguins' Crosby, Dupuis and Ponikarovsky celebrate Dupuis' goal against the Flyers that put them in the Eastern Conference playoffs - 0

The New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres joined the Penguins in nailing down Eastern Conference playoff berths while the Phoenix Coyotes made the postseason for the first time since 2002 in the West.

Sidney Crosby had three assists for the Penguins, who are tied with the New Jersey Devils for the Atlantic Division lead.

New Jersey made the postseason for the 13th successive year with a 4-2 triumph at Montreal. Patrik Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner both had power-play goals.

Buffalo, the Northeast Division leader, secured its first playoff spot since 2007 with a 7-1 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Netminder Patrick Lalime had 22 saves for his 200th career win.

Phoenix used two goals by Lee Stempniak to beat Colorado 6-2 to grab a playoff spot. The Coyotes, second in the Pacific Division, also reached the 100-point mark for the first time in franchise history.

The four teams join the Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks in the playoffs as the regular season enters its final two weeks.

Washington, the Southeast Division winner, can clinch the top seeding in the Eastern Conference by scoring at least a point against the Calgary Flames on Sunday or if New Jersey loses to the Philadelphia Flyers.


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