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Penguins beat Thrashers in regular-season finale

Apr 11, 2011 - 2:25 AM
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Ben Lovejoy tallied three assists while backup goaltender Brent Johnson made 37 saves, as Pittsburgh downed Atlanta, 5-2, to sweep the season series between the two clubs.

Mike Comrie, Pascal Dupuis, Mark Letestu, Michael Rupp and Tyler Kennedy each posted goals for the Penguins, who end the season with four straight wins and a 49-25-8 record.

Pittsburgh clinched the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and will play Tampa Bay. The series starts Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. (et) at CONSOL Energy Center.

"Tampa has a very dangerous power-play group," Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said of their first round foe. "They play very aggressive on defense and very fast on offense. When they play well, they can be very hard to handle. The whole team plays hard and comes at you."

Tim Stapleton and Andrew Ladd each scored for the Thrashers (34-36-12), who will miss the postseason for the 10th time in 11 seasons as a NHL franchise. Chris Mason stopped 15-of-19 shots in the loss.

"I don't think any of us really know," Ladd said of a possible sale of the team during the offseason. "It's kind of all up in the air. We love it here. We think if we put together a winning team, we can get a fan-base going and make this a really great thing here. Hopefully they'll get it figured out and we end up staying here and start that process of building that fanbase even stronger."

Atlanta lit the lamp first just over four minutes into the game on a 5-on-3 advantage. Ladd connected on a Bryan Little pass for his 29th goal of the season.

The wheels fell off for the Thrashers in the second period where they gave up four goals on eight shots.

The Penguins tied it up on the power play nearly 6 1/2 minutes into the second. Kennedy notched the goal when he fired a wrister in from the top of the right circle.

They took the lead with 9:07 left in the second stanza on a slick pass from Maxime Talbot to Dupuis, who tapped it into the open net. Just under five minutes later, Rupp slammed home the puck for a 3-1 edge.

Letestu capped the four-goal period with a wrist shot with 1:46 remaining.

Atlanta got a power-play goal with 6:45 left in regulation to halved the deficit. It was Stapleton's fifth goal of the season.

Comrie added an empty-netter with 1:28 remaining for his first goal of the season.

Game Notes

Thrashers center Rob Schremp was held out of the game for precautionary reasons due to concussion-like symptoms...The Pens have won 12 of the last 13 in the series overall and five of the last six at Philips Arena...Matt Niskanen had two assists in the win...Nik Antropov had two helpers in the loss.