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Penguins squeak past Panthers, Thrashers keep slim playoff hopes alive in SO wins

Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Carter

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) stops a shot by Florida Panthers’ Ryan Carter (20) in the first period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Maybe the Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Thrashers failed to earn style points in their shootout wins this afternoon, but they’ll settle for two real points. Let’s take a quick look at both of their victories, as the Penguins held up their end of the bargain to attempt to win the Atlantic Division while the Thrashers kept their faint playoff hopes alive.

Pittsburgh 2, Florida 1 (SO)

Earlier today, Marc-Andre Fleury was named the Penguins’ most valuable player for the 2010-11 season. If you want a microcosm of his great campaign, look at this afternoon’s contest, as he made 37 saves and stopped both shootout attempts he faced as Pittsburgh eked out two more points.

Ben Lovejoy scored for the Penguins while Ryan Carter provided the Panthers’ tally.

If the Philadelphia Flyers lose in regulation against the Boston Bruins tonight, the Penguins could tie the Flyers at 100 points by beating them in regulation. The only difference will be that Philly will have a game in hand (click here for the extended details).

Atlanta 5, Ottawa 4 (SO)

The Thrashers have won two of their last three games, but it might be too little too late for Atlanta at this point. Still, they kept themselves in the discussion for at least another day, thanks to Andrew Ladd’s shootout winning goal.

Both Ben Maxwell and Blake Wheeler scored a goal and an assist each and Bryan Little and Mark Stuart scored once for the Thrashers. Marek Svatos provided two goals, while Erik Condra and Chris Neil scored a goal each for the scrappy Senators.

Ultimately, both the Penguins and Thrashers did what they had to do today. Pittsburgh has a lot more to play for, although both teams aren’t likely to move much.