PITTSBURGH – Jussi Jokinen scored in regulation and then got the game-winner in the shootout, lifting the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the playoff-bound Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
James Neal scored two power-play goals in regulation – his 25th and 26th of the season – for Pittsburgh, which got defenseman Kris Letang back for the first time since he suffered a stroke 10 weeks ago.
Tomas Jurco, Jakub Kindl and Riley Sheahan scored for the Red Wings, who are headed to the postseason for the 23rd straight time.
Penguins’ goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had 34 saves through overtime and stopped all three attempts in the shootout, including a spinning acrobatic glove save on Daniel Alfredsson to preserve the win.
On the winning goal, Jonas Gustavsson poked the puck off Jokinen’s stick but it caromed high over the Detroit goalie and into the net.
With the scored tied 2-2, Letang – who missed the previous 26 games – set up the go-ahead goal with 10:43 remaining in the third, his shot squeezing through Gustavsson before Jokinen found the loose puck to put Pittsburgh in front. It was Jokinen’s 19th goal of the season.
Sheahan forced overtime and put the Red Wings in the playoffs when he scored his seventh of the year with 1:15 remaining in the third.
Detroit, like Pittsburgh, has endured injuries all season, as the Red Wings are still without captain Henrik Zetterberg, who is recovering from back surgery. Top-pairing defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (finger), Daniel Cleary (knee) and Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder) also remain out.
BLACKHAWKS 3, CANADIENS 2, OT: In Chicago, Patrick Sharp set up Marian Hossa’s tying goal in the final minute of regulation and then scored the game-winner 43 seconds into overtime to lift Chicago to the win.
Jeremy Morin also scored in the Blackhawks’ fourth straight win overall, and their first in overtime this season after seven losses.
Sharp scored the winner on a shot from the slot that struck Montreal goalie Peter Budaj, rolled high off his equipment, ticked off the left post and landed in the net.
BLUE JACKETS 3, STARS 1: In Dallas, Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu added goals to the one Columbus already had when the makeup game started, and the Blue Jackets clinched the second playoff berth in franchise history with the victory.
The Blue Jackets had a 1-0 lead when the puck dropped because that was the score March 10, the night the original game was postponed after Dallas forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench because of an irregular heartbeat.
The Blue Jackets set a franchise record with 42 victories, which bettered the previous mark from their only other playoff season in 2008-09.