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Jackets, Blackhawks, Stars win series-squaring games Pens, Blues, Ducks miss chance for advantage

COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 24, (Agencies): Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime before Nick Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. The Blue Jackets overcame a 3-0 deficit for their first home playoff victory in the franchise’s 13 seasons, sending the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday night level at 2-2. Craig Adams, Chris Kunitz, James Neal scored in a 5:01 span in the first period to stake the Penguins to a 3-0 lead. But Ryan Johansen and Dubinsky each had a goal and an assist and Boone Jenner also scored for Columbus, making only its second postseason trip.

Blackhawks 4, Blues 3, OT
In Chicago, Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of overtime, and Chicago beat St. Louis to even the first-round playoff series at two games apiece. Kane carried the puck down the left side as teammates Ben Smith and Brandon Saad rushed toward the net, and beat Ryan Miller with a well-placed wrist shot for his 32nd career postseason goal. Bryan Bickell tied it for defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago with 3:52 left in regulaton after the Blackhawks blew a 2-0 second-period lead. Andrew Shaw also scored, Jonathan Toews had two assists and Corey Crawford made 30 saves. Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for St. Louis, and Maxim Lapierre added a goal. Game 5 is Friday night in St. Louis.

Stars 4, Ducks 2
In Dallas, Cody Eakin and Alex Goligoski scored 1:22 apart off Dallas’ first two shots in the third period as the Stars beat top-seeded Anaheim in Game 4 to level the series 2-2. Game 5 is Friday night in Anaheim, and Game 6 is Sunday in Dallas. Even without captain Ryan Getzlaf, a surprise late scratch with an upper-body injury, and healthy scratch Teemu Selane, the Ducks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Bryan Allen and Patrick Maroon. Dallas captain Jaime Benn scored off a faceoff only 27 seconds into the second period, his third goal in the series. Vernon Fiddler tied it at 6:33 of the second.

    1    2    3    OT    T
Columbus    1    1    1    1    4
Pittsburgh    3    0    0    0    3
(The best-of-seven series is level at 2-2)
    1    2    3    OT    T
Chicago    0    2    1    1    4
St. Louis    0    2    1    0    3
(The best-of-seven series is level at 2-2)
    1    2    3    OT    T
Dallas    0    2    2    4
Anaheim    2    0    0    2
(The best-of-seven series is level at 2-2)

Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke was slapped with a seven-game suspension for kneeing Colorado Avalanche defenceman Tyson Barrie in a playoff contest on Monday, the National Hockey League announced Wednesday. Cooke was given a minor penalty for sticking his knee out to trip Barrie just over two minutes into the second period of Monday’s 1-0 Minnesota victory in game three of the first round playoff series. The NHL’s disciplinary officials reviewed it and decided to increase the penalty. Barrie was later diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament and is scheduled to miss up to six weeks. If Cooke’s full suspension is not fully served during the current playoffs, the remaining games will be added onto the beginning of the 2014-15 regular season.

Canada’s only team in the National Hockey League playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens, became the first team to reach the second round, thanks to a first-round sweep of Tampa Bay. No club from Canada has won the Stanley Cup since Montreal in 1993 and the Canadiens are the only team with a hope of ending the drought this year. They now await the winner between Boston and Detroit, fellow members of the oldest NHL teams known as the “Original Six”, and could have as much as a week off after taking their best-of-seven series with the Lightning in four games. “We’ll be well prepared, I can tell you that,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. “As far as I’m concerned, we won the series but we haven’t accomplished what we set out to accomplish. For me this was a step and we have another step to take.”

“We ended the season with confidence. We have played good hockey the last six or seven weeks,” Therrien said. “Confidence is a big factor. Our team was confident in the way we were playing. “If you look all the games in the playoffs, it was always us that dictated the play. We were the more aggressive team in terms of scoring chances and shots. We were well prepared and played with a lot of confidence.” Montreal goaltender Carey Price won his first playoff series since 2008, when he was an NHL rookie. “We played really well the entire series,” Price said.

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