Penguins close gap on Rangers, Blackhawks clinch play-off spot


The Pittsburgh Penguins moved to within three points of the second-placed New York Rangers in the NHL Metropolitan Division courtesy of a 3-2 overtime win on Sunday. 

Eric Staal gave the Rangers the lead inside the opening five minutes in front of the home crowd at Madison Square Garden, but Matt Cullen struck back for the visiting Penguins. 

Staal scored a second to restore the Rangers' lead but once again they were pulled back by the Penguins, with Phil Kessel tying things up midway through the second period. 

After a scoreless third period the game headed into OT and it was the Penguins who scored the winning goal, Sidney Crosby netting his third goal in as many games against the Rangers with 30 seconds remaining. 

The win, their eighth out of their last nine games, moved the Penguins onto 92 points in third place, three points behind the Rangers in second and three ahead of the New York Islanders in fourth. 

Reigning Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks secured an eighth-straight play-off berth thanks to a 3-2 win over the struggling Vancouver Canucks. 

Tomas Fleischmann gave the Blackhawks the lead in the first period only for Alexandre Burrows to tie the game in the second. 

Canucks forward Sven Baertschi cancelled out Teuvo Teravainen's effort in the third period but Andrew Ladd scored with under three minutes left in regulation time to seal the victory. 

Meanwhile, a Victor Rask double helped the Carolina Hurricanes edge the New Jersey Devils 3-2.