Penguins edge Blue Jackets to advance in playoffs
Evgeni Malkin (L) of the Pittsburgh Penguins attempts to skate the puck past Jack Johnson of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena on April 28, 2014 - by Kirk Irwin
Malkin broke out of a scoring slump with his first goals of the playoffs, helping stake Pittsburgh to a four-goal edge Monday before Columbus rallied late with three goals in a five-minute span of the third period only to fall short.
The Penguins captured the best-of-seven series four games to two and will next face either the New York Rangers or Philadelphia Flyers for a spot in the Eastern Conference final.
Brandon Sutter also scored for Pittsburgh, but the Blue Jackets battled back, Nick Foligno's successful redirection pulling Columbus within the final margin with 4:47 remaining.
Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and Penguins counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury each made 24 saves.
It was only the second playoff series in club history for the Blue Jackets.
Malkin's only other playoff hat trick came against Carolina in the 2009 Eastern Conference final.