Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets

Penguins clinch playoff berth with win over Blue Jackets


Not much of a surprise here, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Yes, Sidney Crosby and his bunch clinched a post-season berth with a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

The Penguins got goals from Chris Kunitz and Beau Bennett only 47 seconds apart in the third period to defeat the Blue Jackets by a final score of 2-1. The Penguins, having also put to an end a three-game losing streak, are still well out in front of the Metropolitan Division with 99 points.

However, the loss could have a huge impact on the Blue Jackets, and their playoff aspirations. Columbus is one of four teams currently tied with 80 points, but looking to grab the two Wild Card spots in the East. The math: two of those four teams, at some points, are going to pull ahead and grab those remaining spots.

The other two, well, it will be the opposite.

The Blue Jackets did get some help, as the Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Philadelphia Flyers and have now been defeated in seven straight games.

Senators select Kyle Turris as alternate captain

Chris Neil Kyle Turris Dustin Tokarski
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Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.

Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.

Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.

With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.

Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

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On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.