Pitts­burgh and Nashville move into sec­ond round



When the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins blew their chance at a sweep Tues­day, Coach Mike Sullivan em­pha­sized the need for every­one to re­set their mind-set.

Sullivan’s team had to do that a few times Thurs­day, but the Pen­guins ul­ti­mately got the re­sult they de­sired, a 5-2 win over the vis­it­ing Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets in Game 5 of their open­ing-round se­ries at PPG Paints Arena that pushed Pitts­burgh through to the Eastern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals with a 4-1 se­ries vic­tory.

Af­ter what could turn out to be a sub­stan­tial break, the Pen­guins will play ei­ther the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals or Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bryan Rust scored a pair of goals, Ev­geni Malkin con­trib­uted three as­sists, and Marc-An­dre Fleury stopped 49 of 51 shots to make this one hap­pen.

Jake Guentzel led the Pen­guins in goals against the Blue Jack­ets with five this se­ries, fol­lowed by Rust’s four.

PREDA­TORS 4, BLACK­HAWKS 1: Ro­man Josi scored twice, Pekka Rinne had 30 saves, and the host Nashville Preda­tors beat the Chicago Black­hawks to com­plete a sur­pris­ing sweep of the Western Con­fer­ence’s top seed.

Colton Sis­sons also scored and Vik­tor Arvids­son added an emp­tynet goal as Nashville com­pleted the fran­chise’s first play­off sweep. Led by Rinne and a ter­rific de­fen­sive per­for­mance by their lines and de­fen­sive pair­ings, the Preda­tors lim­ited the high-scor­ing Black­hawks to just three goals in 13 pe­ri­ods.

Nashville will face the win­ner of the St. Louis-Min­nesota se­ries in the sec­ond round. The Blues have a 3-1 lead head­ing into Game 5 on Sat­ur­day in Min­nesota.

RANGERS 3, CANA­DI­ENS 2: Mika Zibane­jad scored at 14:22 of over­time to give New York a vic­tory over host Mon­treal in Game 5 of their first-round play­off se­ries.

The Rangers grabbed a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven se­ries and will look to ad­vance when they host Game 6 on Sat­ur­day.

Chris Krei­der’s shot on a rush went off Alexei Emelin’s stick right to Zibane­jad for a shot into an open side. Jes­per Fast and Brady Sk­jei also scored for New York. Hen­rik Lundqvist made 34 saves.

Sabres fire GM, coach

Gen­eral man­ager Tim Mur­ray ran out of time to re­build the Buf­falo Sabres into a con­tender. The team will need a new head coach, too.

Sabres owner Terry Peg­ula cleaned house by fir­ing Mur­ray and coach Dan Bylsma on Thurs­day amid ques­tions over player ac­count­abil­ity dur­ing a sea­son in which Buf­falo ex­tended its fran­chise-worst play­off drought to a sixth year. Peg­ula reached the de­ci­sion af­ter spend­ing the past two days hold­ing sea­son-end­ing meet­ings with Mur­ray and some 10 days af­ter Buf­falo closed its sea­son by fin­ish­ing last in the At­lantic Divi­sion.

Mur­ray com­pleted his third full sea­son as GM and was re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing a top-to-bot­tom over­haul that be­gan un­der his pre­de­ces­sor Darcy Regier, who was fired in Novem­ber 2013. Bylsma com­pleted his sec­ond sea­son. Both had three years left on their re­spec­tive con­tracts.

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