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Sidney Crosby scores twice as Pens secure playoff spot with 6-4 win over TB

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TAMPA, Fla. - Sidney Crosby scored twice in one minute and seconds midway through second period to help the Pittsburgh Penguins clinch a playoff berth with a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Crosby (101) joined teammate Evgeni Malkin (NHL-leading 110), who had two assists, in reaching the 100-point mark this season.

It's the first time two Pittsburgh players have reached 100 points during the same season since Mario Lemieux (161) and Jaromir Jagr (149) in the 1995-96 season.

Ruslan Fedotenko, Matt Cooke, Petr Sykora and Jordan Staal also scored for the Penguins, who are 16-3-4 under interim coach Dan Bylsma. They're sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Jeff Halpern scored twice, and Martin St. Louis and Paul Szczechura also had third-period goals as Tampa Bay nearly erased a four-goal deficit. The Lightning have lost seven in a row and 10 of 11.

Crosby made it 2-0 midway through the second period before making it a three-goal game during a breakaway 1:04 later.

Fedotenko put the Penguins up 1-0 on a backhander from the slot five minutes into the second period. Cooke scored early in the third.

A short-handed goal by Halpern, St. Louis' 30th of the season and an in-close effort from Szczechura cut the Tampa Bay deficit to 4-3 with 10:17 left in regulation.

The Lightning earlier failed to score on a pair of extended 5-on-3 power plays.

Sykora's 300th career goal, coming on a rebound, gave Pittsburgh a 5-3 advantage two minutes after Szczechura's goal. After Halpern scored with 40.6 seconds left, Staal picked up an empty-netter with 12.5 seconds to go.

Tampa Bay left wing Ryan Malone left with a broken right hand and will miss the final two games of the season. Acquired in an offseason trade with Pittsburgh, Malone finishes the season with 26 goals and 45 points.

Notes: Crosby reached 100 points for the third time. ... Malkin has 301 points in 240 career games. ... Lightning general manager Brian Lawton plans to meet with interim coach Rick Tocchet after the NHL draft lottery to discuss the full-time coaching position. "I'm looking forward to sitting down with Rick," Lawton said during a question-and-answer session with a group of season ticket holders before the game. ... Lawton said the primary offseason goal is to strengthen Tampa Bay's depth on defence. The GM feels Tampa Bay already has some of the pieces in place, including forwards Vincent Lecavalier and St. Louis, to make a serious run at a playoff berth next season. The Lightning will miss the postseason for the second straight season.

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