Penguins eliminate Blue Jackets, 4-1


Associated Press

Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate during the third period of Thursday’s Game 5 of the first round of the NHL Playoffs. The Penguins won the game 5-2.


Gene J. Puskar | AP photo


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    PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby and Scott Wilson scored 51 seconds apart in the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5-2 win in Game 5 of their first-round series on Thursday night.

    Bryan Rust scored twice for Pittsburgh, Phil Kessel added his second of the playoffs and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 49 saves. The defending Stanley Cup champions will face the winner of the Toronto-Washington series in the conference semifinals starting next week.

    William Karlsson and Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets, but Sergei Bobrovsky stopped just 27 of 32 shots to finish a forgettable series.

    Columbus trailed by three in the second period but had a potential tying goal waved off in the third for interference. Pittsburgh responded immediately. Crosby’s one-timer on the power play restored a two-goal lead and Wilson’s backhand less than a minute later finished off the Blue Jackets.

    Columbus avoided being swept with a spirited 5-4 win on Tuesday, extending the series by playing with the kind of desperation Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan insisted his team needed if it wanted to get some rest before the second round.

    It’s a refrain Sullivan has preached repeatedly over the last couple weeks and once again, the Penguins didn’t listen.

    And once again, they were able to get away with it thanks to Fleury. He fended off 15 shots in the first period alone, several of them from point-blank range. It gave the Penguins time to find their legs, and Kessel’s wrist shot from the top of the circle 9:07 into the first put Pittsburgh in front.

    When Rust scored twice less than three minutes apart early in the second — both of them on backhand rebounds — the Penguins appeared to be in control.

    Rangers 3, Canadiens 2, OT

    MONTREAL — Mika Zibanejad scored at 14:22 of overtime to give the New York Rangers a victory over Montreal in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.

    Chris Kreider’s shot on a rush went off Alexei Emelin’s stick right to Zibanejad for a shot into an open side.

    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.

    Jesper Fast and Brady Skjei also scored for New York.

    Artturi Lehkonen scored and set up a goal by Brendan Gallagher in the first period for Montreal.

    NBA

    Cavaliers 119, Pacers 114

    INDIANAPOLIS — LeBron James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers set an NBA postseason record by erasing a 25-point halftime deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 119-114 on Thursday night and take a 3-0 lead.

    James passed Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on the NBA’s career playoff scoring list and tied another NBA record by winning his 20th consecutive first-round game.

    The Cavaliers will try to sweep the series Sunday.

    The incredible rally ruined Paul George’s big night. He had 36 points, a playoff career-high 15 rebounds and nine assists.

    Cleveland trailed by 26 in the first half and was still down 74-49 at halftime. The largest halftime deficit overcome to win a playoff game had been 21 points by Baltimore against Philadelphia in 1948.

    James scored 13 points in the third quarter to get the Cavs within 91-84.

    James now has 5,669 points, 29 ahead of Bryant. He also matched three other ex-Los Angeles Lakers — Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper and James Worthy — for most consecutive first-round wins.

    This comeback began with a second straight devastating third-quarter punch from the Cavs.

    After Cleveland cut the deficit to 77-62 and then watched Indiana extend the margin to 20, Cleveland finished the quarter on a 17-4 spurt to make it 91-84.

    Things only got worse for the Pacers.

    George’s 3 with 5:15 to go gave Indiana a 104-103 lead — its last of the game. James answered with a layup out of a timeout and the Cavs never trailed again.

    It’s only the second time in the Pacers’ NBA history they have lost the first three games in a best-of-seven series. Indiana has never endured a four-game sweep since joining the NBA.

    Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate during the third period of Thursday’s Game 5 of the first round of the NHL Playoffs. The Penguins won the game 5-2.
    http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_Pens-BlueJacketsG5.jpgPittsburgh Penguins celebrate during the third period of Thursday’s Game 5 of the first round of the NHL Playoffs. The Penguins won the game 5-2. Gene J. Puskar | AP photo

    Associated Press

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