Ahead 3-2, Chris Kunitz scored the game-winning goal at 7:12 of the third period to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to their third straight victory and snap a three-game slide against the Washington Capitals in their final game of the season (PIT: 1-3-0; WSH: 3-1-0).
The Penguins (35-17-9, 79 points) increased their lead to three points over the Capitals (33-19-10, 76 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division, where the top four teams are separated by six points:
* Kunitz scored his first goal since Jan. 30 at the New Jersey Devils, ending an 11-game drought. It was his 39th career game-winning goal and fifth this season (tied for PIT lead w/ Blake Comeau).
* Sidney Crosby reached the 20-goal mark for the eighth time in 10 NHL seasons. Per Elias Sports Bureau, only Mario Lemieux (12), Jaromir Jagr (11), Rick Kehoe (9) and Jean Pronovost (9) have more 20-goal seasons with the Penguins. Crosby leads the Penguins and is tied with Alex Ovechkin for fifth in League scoring with 62 points (20 goals, 42 assists) in 57 games.
* Evgeni Malkin (0-3—3) had his 62nd career game with at least three points (fifth this season) and 25th with at least three assists. It was his second straight three-point performance (2-1—3 Sunday vs. Florida Panthers); Elias says that is the sixth time he has had back-to-back games with at least three points.
* Malkin has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last four games and ranks second on the Penguins – and seventh in the NHL – with 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) in 56 games.
* Crosby and Malkin have compiled 18-33—51 (33 GP) and 9-33-42 (29 GP), respectively, in their careers against the Capitals; those totals include 12-15—27 (17 GP) and 1-18—19 (14 GP) at Verizon Center.
* Patric Hornqvist and Brandon Sutter scored the other goals for the Penguins. Hornqvist found the back of the net for the third straight game (4-1—5), and Sutter scored his ninth career shorthanded goal (third this season).
* Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves, including 11 in the third period, to earn his first win against WSH since March 11, 2014 (0-3-0 in previous three decisions). Fleury posted his 28th win of the season and fifth in his past eight starts (5-2-1).
* Pittsburgh has earned at least a point in seven of its past eight road games (6-1-1), including a 3-0-1 mark in its past four games as visitors.
FLAMES CLIMB BACK INTO WILD-CARD POSITION, NARROW GAP IN PACIFIC
The Calgary Flames scored three unanswered goals, including two 49 seconds apart over the second and third periods by Curtis Glencross (19:46 of the second) and Sean Monahan (0:35 of the third), to halt a three-game slide in New Jersey.
2014-2015 StandingsPacific DivisionGPPROW1Anaheim Ducks6283302Vancouver Canucks6073323Los Angeles Kings5970284Calgary Flames6170305San Jose Sharks6168286Arizona Coyotes6147167Edmonton Oilers624613ROW = total number of regulation plus overtime wins. For tie-breaking purposes, wins obtained in a shootout are not counted. For full standings tiebreakers, click here.
FULL STANDINGS ›02/26/15 8:52AM * With the victory, the Flames (33-24-4, 70 points) leapfrogged the idle Minnesota Wild (31-22-7, 69 points) for the final wild-card position for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference and tied the idle Los Angeles Kings (29-18-12, 70 points) – in terms of points – for third place in the Pacific Division, where second place and fifth place is separated by five points:
* Monahan scored his fifth goal via the power play and 21st overall (61 GP), one shy of his 75-game total from his rookie season (22 in 2013-14). It was his seventh career game-winning goal and fifth this season (leads CGY).
* Monahan had an assist for his ninth multipoint effort of 2014-15. He leads the Flames in goals and ranks fourth in points (21-21—42).
* Glencross snapped a 13-game goal drought with his third tally against the Devils this season – he scored twice, including the tying goal at 19:55 of the third period, on Nov. 22 (a 5-4 shootout win). Overall, he has 6-5—11 in eight career games vs. NJD.
* Mark Giordano (0-1—1) established a career-high with his 48th point of the season (61 GP), surpassing his previous best set in 64 games last season. He took over the overall points lead among defensemen and also tied Kris Letang for the most assists by a blueliner with 37.
* TJ Brodie scored into the empty-net, becoming the third Flames defenseman to reach double digits in goals this season (also Dennis Wideman: 12; Giordano: 11). Elias says that has only happened once before in Flames history, in 1985-86 en route to the franchise's first Stanley Cup Final appearance (Gary Suter: 18; Al MacInnis and Jamie Macoun: each 11). Overall, the Flames rank second in the NHL with 148 points by defensemen in 2014-15 (behind NSH: 155).
* Making consecutive starts for the first time since December, Karri Ramo made 26 saves to improve to 10-6-1 with a 2.51 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and two shutouts in 22 appearances this season.
* Calgary won its fifth straight against New Jersey and improved to 6-0-1 in its past seven games against the Devils dating to Jan. 10, 2012.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 39th goal of the season and 18th via the power play, extending his League lead in each category . . . Troy Brouwer (1-1—2), John Carlson (1-1—2) and Jason Chimera (0-2—2) each had two points for the Capitals . . . Devils forward Mike Cammalleri scored his 23rd goal to stretch his point streak to four games (5-1—6) . . . Jordin Tootoo had the lone assist to push his point streak to four games (1-3—4) . . . Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau (Salem, N.J.) played 20:00 and had two shots on goal in his first NHL game in his home state . . . Ducks forward Jiri Sekac played 14:35 and had one shot in his debut with Anaheim . . . The Kings signed forward Kyle Clifford to a five-year contract extension . . . Los Angeles then acquired defenseman Andrej Sekera in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Roland McKeown and a conditional first-round selection . . . The Hurricanes also traded forward Jiri Tlusty to the Winnipeg Jets for a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and a conditional pick in the 2015 NHL Draft . . . The Penguins acquired forward Daniel Winnik from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Zach Sill, a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft . . . The NHL fined Sabres goaltender Michael Neuvirth $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment).
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