NHL Highlights: Penguins Pound Jets, Lehtonen's OT Save, Kovalchuk's 400th Goal

Ryan O'Leary@BR0LearyFeatured Columnist IMarch 21, 2012

NHL Highlights: Penguins Pound Jets, Lehtonen's OT Save, Kovalchuk's 400th Goal

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    Another robust evening of hockey made things more complicated in the Western Conference, including two pivotal games: Sharks vs. Kings and Coyotes vs. Stars.

    In all, 14 of the 18 teams in action on Tuesday night are somehow featured in the NHL playoff picture, including a handful of teams—like the Sharks and Kings—fighting to be included.

    Here are last night's top three highlights from a nine-game docket.

Crosby, Malkin, Neal Combine for 13 Points in Penguins' 8-4 Win

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    Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal put on a clinic en route to recording this power-play goal in the first period (video).

    The last time the Penguins and Jets hooked up in Winnipeg, the teams combined for 13 goals. Last night, the two teams nearly reached that mark, scoring a combined 12 goals in an 8-4 Penguins win.

    Malkin scored twice and added three assists to bring his league-leading point total to 93.

    Crosby added four more assists, giving the star nine points in four games since his return.

    Neal notched a second career hat trick and an assist, giving him 35 goals on the season.

Kari Lehtonen Comes Up Big in Major Pacific Division Battle

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    Kari Lehtonen's kick save is the reason the Dallas Stars defeated the Coyotes and hold the Pacific Division lead with 85 points (video).

    Kick save and a beaut' doesn't even begin to describe Lehtonen's robbery of Phoenix's Oliver Ekman-Larsson in overtime.

    Lehtonen's save extended the game to a shootout, and Dallas prevailed 4-3 in the end. Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder and Loui Eriksson each contributed three points in the win.

Ilya Kovalchuk's Milestone Is the Difference in Win over Ottawa

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    Ilya Kovalchuk's second-period power-play goal was the difference in a tightly contested game with the upstart Ottawa Senators (video).

    Congratulations to the Devils' Kovalchuk for reaching the 400-career-goal plateau in his team's 1-0 victory over the Sens in Ottawa.

    The goal came on the power play in the second period, boosting a Devils team reeling of late, losing back-to-back games to division rivals Pittsburgh and New York.