Pittsburgh Penguins earn 15th consecutive playoff berth

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Jake Guentzel scored the winning goal in overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins punched their ticket to the NHL postseason with a 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals, who also earned a playoff spot.

Guentzel scored 2:11 into the extra session in Thursday's battle between the two clubs who are tied for first place in the East Division with 69 points.

The Penguins-Capitals outcome, combined with the fifth-place New York Rangers' 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders, allowed Pittsburgh to earn its 15th straight playoff spot.

Capitals' Tom Wilson scored late in the third period to force the overtime. That set the stage for Guentzel's winner, which came off a pass from teammate John Marino. The Penguins improved to 33-15-3, while the Capitals dropped to 32-13-5.

Both teams were missing key players with the Penguins going without all-star Russian forward Evgeni Malkin while Capitals star Alex Ovechkin missed his third consecutive game with an unspecified injury.

Malkin has been out for 22 straight games. The Penguins declined to provide any details about the injury.