Evgeni Malkin had a hat trick and the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins almost blew a four-goal lead before beating the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3, on Monday night to clinch their first-round playoff series in six games.
The Blue Jackets, closer to making tee times than thinking about a Game 7, scored three times in a 4:52 span in the third period to turn up the pressure on the Penguins.
Pittsburgh awaits the winner of the New York-Philadelphia series, with the Rangers leading 3-2 going into Tuesday night’s Game 6.
Brandon Sutter also scored and Matt Niskanen had two assists as the Penguins became the first team in the series to score first and win — but barely. Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves.
at Minnesota 5, Colorado 2: Zach Parise scored early and late on tipped shots, and the Wild tacked on two empty-net goals for a victory that sent the first-round playoff series to a decisive Game 7.
Parise and Mikko Koivu each had two assists. The teams will meet again in Denver on Wednesday night, with the winner taking on the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference semifinals.
Parise scored just 49 seconds into the game and Mikael Granlund made it 2-0 later in the first period, but the Avalanche rallied on goals by Paul Stastny and Nick Holden to tie the score going into the third period.
Parise’s third goal of the series broke the deadlock with 6:29 to play, beating Semyon Varlamov.