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Penguins 3, Senators 2

NHL.com @NHL

OTTAWA (AP) -The Pittsburgh Penguins gave themselves a chance to get home-ice advantage in their first playoff series in six years.

Maxime Talbot scored with 9.8 seconds remaining to lift the Penguins to a 3-2 win over Ottawa on Thursday night and preserve an opportunity to claim home-ice advantage in their first-round playoff matchup against the Senators.

Talbot put a shot past Ray Emery into the top of the net during a 4-on-4 situation in the dying moments of the third, moving Pittsburgh into a tie with Ottawa for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 103 points.

"It was a pretty exciting game," Talbot said. "It was a playoff atmosphere and a playoff-type of game. It's going to be an interesting series."

Maxim Ouellet and Gary Roberts both scored power-play goals during a five-minute elbowing major against Ottawa's Jason Spezza in the first.

Roberts, acquired in a Feb. 27 trade with Florida, helped Toronto eliminate the Senators from the playoffs three times in his four seasons with the Maple Leafs.

"They're a real character team," Roberts said. "They battle hard every night. I know we had some success against them in Toronto but not because we outplayed them. Fortunately our goalie was better than their goalie but if you look at the games in all those series, Ottawa outchanced us on numerous occasions. They're a great club and it's going to be a heck of a series."

Spezza scored his 32nd on a power-play 7:59 in and assisted on Dany Heatley's 49th goal in the second.

Pittsburgh, which had lost consecutive games (0-1-1), will finish second in the Atlantic. The Penguins, who will return to the postseason for the first time since the 2000-01 season, host the New York Rangers on Saturday - and will face the Senators when the playoffs begin next week.

"We've got one more game and we're going to concentrate on finishing our season on a positive note because we want to make sure we've got good momentum on our side," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.

Ottawa, which lost 2-1 in a shootout in New Jersey on Tuesday, finishes its schedule Saturday in Boston.

"You've got to win four games out of seven, no matter where you play," Heatley said. "Home ice really only matters if it goes all seven. We'd prefer here, obviously."

Each of the game's first four goals were scored on the power play, including Spezza's goal which opened the scoring.

Heatley, who ended a five-game goals streak Tuesday, tied it at 2 with his sixth goal in six games 4:11 into the second.

With a team-record 50 goals last season, Heatley has an opportunity to become the first NHL player to score at least 50 goals in consecutive seasons since Florida's Pavel Bure in 2000-01.

"If it happens, it happens," Heatley said. "I had chances tonight. We had a lot of chances, everyone on the team. We could have had three or four more goals."

The playoffs may be a week away, yet the bad blood between the teams began in the opening period.

Spezza was given a roughing minor in addition to his elbowing major 10:07 into the first after he drove his right forearm into Jarkko Ruutu's head as the Penguins' forward skated back towards him when the two exchanged words in the Senators' zone.

"He's just trying to agitate," Spezza said. "That's his job and it worked tonight, but it won't work in the playoffs."

Ruutu lay on the ice and returned to his bench after he was attended to by a trainer, but his stay was short-lived as he was called for charging on the play.

"It's part of the game," Ruutu said. "I was getting a penalty from trying to hit him and I missed him, then he elbowed me. What can you do? You have to be ready for everything and they got five minutes for that."

At that point there were eight players in the penalty box - four from each team - after Pittsburgh's Colby Armstrong ran into Emery, touching off a scrum that led to offsetting roughing minors and misconducts and left Ottawa with a man advantage with Armstrong penalized for goaltender interference.

Notes: Bure, a five-time 50-goal scorer, beat his own Florida record with 59 goals in 2000-01 after he set the previous mark of 58 in 1999-2000, his first full season with the Panthers. ... Senators D Tom Preissing left with a groin injury and did not return. ... The announced attendance was a sellout of 20,064.

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