Guentzel wins it in OT as Pens, Caps clinch playoffs

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WASHINGTON — Jake Guentzel scored his 22nd goal 2:11 into overtime to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night in a result that clinched both teams' place in the playoffs.

Guentzel's winner on a one-time redirection of John Marino's pass came after Washington's Tom Wilson forced overtime with 14.3 seconds to play.

The result, combined with the New York Islanders' regulation win over the New York Rangers, ensures both teams will be among the Eastern Division's four playoff teams.

Kasperi Kapanen scored his ninth and 10th goals of the season, Frederick Gaudreau added a goal in his return from injury and Zach Aston-Reese also scored for the Penguins, who have now won five of their seven meetings with the Capitals.

Colton Sceviour and Jared McCann each had two assists for the Penguins.

T.J. Oshie scored his 18th goal, Daniel Sprung added his fourth in three games and Dmitry Orlov also scored for Washington before Wilson's late leveler.

Justin Schultz and Nicklas Backstrom each had two assists for the Capitals, who would not have clinched their spot with a loss in regulation.

Pittsburgh's Tristan Jarry made 33 saves and Washington's Vitek Vanacek made 30 stops.

Kapanen gave his team the lead again midway through the third. McCann spotted him breaking down the right with a cross-ice pass, and with his defender beat, Kapanen lifted a shot over Vanacek's blocker side into the top right corner.

Wilson levelled it on a 6-on-5. Evgeny Kuznetsov tracked down his own miss, then spun and snuck a tight feed to him in front of the crease, and Wilson lifted a shot over Jarry's shoulder.

TRAINERS ROOM

Penguins: RW Evan Rodrigues had to be helped off the ice midway after he was caught in the lower left leg by teammate Mike Matheson's shot attempt. ... Evgeny Malkin (lower body) participated in Pittsburgh's morning skate. ... Gaudreau (lower body) returned after missing seven games.

Capitals: Alex Ovechkin (lower body) missed his third straight game, and D John Carlson (lower body) was held out as a game-time decision. ... Schultz (lower body) missed Washington's previous three games before his return Thursday.

STREAKS STALLED

Oshie's goal on a first-period power play snapped a stretch of nine successful Pittsburgh penalty kills against Washington, the NHL's second-best club on the man advantage.

Meanwhile, Kapanen's tying goal later in the first was the first allowed at even strength by a Capitals goaltender since the second period of a 6-3 loss to Boston on April 18, a stretch of 222 minutes and 42 seconds.

UP NEXT

The Penguins and Capitals meet again in Washington Saturday, completing their season series.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

Ian Nicholas Quillen, The Associated Press