Penguins defeat Predators to keep pace for 2nd wild card in East


Reilly Smith scored, and Marcus Pettersson had two assists for the Penguins (38-31-12), who are 8-1-3 in their past 12 games and would have been eliminated with a regulation loss. Alex Nedeljkovic made 28 saves in his 12th straight start.

The Penguins remained within one point of the Washington Capitals for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference with one game remaining for each team. The Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 2-0 on Monday.

Filip Forsberg and Gustav Nyquist scored, and Ryan McDonagh had two assists for the Predators (47-30-5), who had won two in a row and three of four. Juuse Saros made 34 saves.

Nashville, which played its final game of the regular season, remained three points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights for the first wild card from the Western Conference.

Michael Bunting seemed to give Pittsburgh a lead with a power-play goal at 6:23 of the first period but it was overturned after Nashville challenged for goaltender interference.

Crosby then scored on the same power play, putting the Penguins ahead 1-0 at 7:02. A shot from Bunting snuck through Saros’ five-hole and sat in the crease before Crosby scored his 42nd goal, diving from behind the net to tap it in before McDonagh or Dante Fabbro could clear.

Karlsson made it 2-0 at 13:50, a one-timer from the point set up by Crosby.

Kris Letang appeared to score past a screen from Lars Eller at 16:20, but Pittsburgh had a second goal overturned after Nashville again successfully challenged for goaltender interference.

Nyquist cut it to 2-1 at 7:24 of the second period, shoveling in a bouncing puck under Nedeljkovic just outside the crease.

Reilly Smith scored 57 seconds later, extending it to 3-1 at 8:21 and ending a 13-game goal drought on a wrist shot from the high slot.

Forsberg made it 3-2 at 17:36, scoring on a snap shot from the right face-off circle for his 48th goal of the season.

Bemstrom extended it to 4-2 at 2:42 of the third period on a one-timer off a slap pass from Karlsson.

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