Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Evgeni Malkin finally broke out of his scoring slump, and the Pittsburgh Penguins at last put away the Columbus Blue Jackets. Malkin potted his first three goals of this year's playoffs to stake the Penguins to a huge lead they very nearly gave away in Game 6 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup, but the Metropolitan Division champs held off a furious late rally to hang on for a 4-3 victory and clinch the series. Brandon Sutter also scored and Matt Niskanen contributed a pair of assists as Pittsburgh built a seemingly insurmountable 4-0 advantage through 2 1/2 periods, before the resilient Blue Jackets struck three times within a span of less than five minutes to place the outcome back in doubt. Nick Foligno's successful redirection brought Columbus within one with 4:47 remaining, but the Blue Jackets' comeback attempt ultimately fell just short to enable Pittsburgh to move on to the conference semifinals, where it awaits the winner of the New York Rangers-Philadelphia series. Fedor Tyutin had a goal and an assist during Columbus' third-period surge, with Sergei Bobrovsky recording 24 saves in the season-ender. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 shots as well for the Penguins.
Final Score: Minnesota 5, Colorado 2
St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Zach Parise tipped the puck past Semyon Varlamov and carried the Minnesota Wild into a Game 7. Parise's second goal of the game broke a tie with 6:29 remaining in the third period and the Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Monday to even their first-round Western Conference playoff series. Parise had four points and the Wild scored two empty-net goals after Avalanche coach Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov early again -- a strategy that has worked twice in the series. Game 7 is Wednesday in Denver. Parise had Avs defenseman Erik Johnson on his back near the crease when he got his stick on Mikko Koivu's shot from the left boards just inside the blue line to tip it past Varlamov for the winner. The Wild rebounded from Saturday's tough Game 5 loss, when the Avs tied the game after Varlamov came out with 2:22 left in regulation. Nathan MacKinnon's goal 3:27 into overtime gave Colorado a 4-3 win. Varlamov skated off with 2:44 left in this one, but Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella scored into the empty net to seal the win for Minnesota.
Final Score: Los Angeles 4, San Jose 1
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar each scored twice, Jonathan Quick stopped 25 shots and the Kings staved off elimination for the third straight time to force a Game 7 with a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Monday's Game 6 was tied 1-1 with just over eight minutes left before Williams netted his second of the night, digging the puck free from under the pads of San Jose goaltender Alex Stalock, who made his first start of the series in place of Antti Niemi. The Sharks argued the call, citing that Stalock had the puck covered long enough to induce a whistle, but after a brief huddle, the referees deemed the play unreviewable and the goal stood. Kopitar potted a pair of goals 75 seconds apart shortly after and Quick kept the Sharks off the board the rest of the way, as the Kings became just the ninth team in NHL history to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0 in a series. James Sheppard supplied San Jose's lone goal, while Stalock allowed four goals on 30 shots in the setback. Stalock received the starting nod after Niemi was chased from Games 4 and 5, giving up eight goals on 45 shots in back-to-back losses for the Sharks. Game 7 is slated for Wednesday in San Jose.