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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Penguins clinched a berth to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With a 4-3 win Tuesday night over the Washington Capitals, the Penguins assured they'd be part of the postseason for the first time since 2001.

A wide-open Alexander Semin backhanded a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury 5:59 into the contest for a 1-0 Capitals lead.

Boyd Gordon slid in his own rebound for a 2-0 lead with 10:42 left in the first period.

Michel Ouellet tallied a power-play goal with 7:52 left in the first period. He swept a rebound past Olaf Kolzig to trim the Penguins' deficit to 2-1. Brooks Orpik and Erik Christensen assisted on the goal.

Ryan Whitney found the back of the net 1:10 into the second period for a power-play goal. Sidney Crosby sent a cross-ice pass to Whitney on the near side. Whitney's one-timer went through Kolzig's legs for a 2-2 tie. Evgeni Malkin added an assist on the play.

Crosby poked in a loose puck with 13:39 left for a power-play goal and a 3-2 Penguins lead. Malkin and Sergei Gonchar assisted on the play. Gonchar fired a shot from the blue line and Malkin, in front of the net, deflected the puck to Crosby on the far post. He sent it at the goal and then poked in his own rebound.

Whitney found the back of the net with 4:08 left on the clock. He took a cross-ice pass from Ryan Malone and one-timed it past Kolzig. Georges Laraque earned the other assist.

Milan Jurcina found the back of the net with 31.9 seconds left to play to trim the deficit to 4-3.


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