Evgeni Malkin had a hat trick and the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins almost blew a four-goal lead before beating the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3, on Monday night to clinch their first-round playoff series in six games.

The Blue Jackets, closer to making tee times than thinking about a Game 7, scored three times in a 4-minute, 52-second span in the third period to turn up the pressure on the Penguins.

Pittsburgh awaits the winner of the New York-Flyers series.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for the Penguins. Fedor Tyutin, Artem Anisimov and Nick Foligno scored late to thrill a crowd of 19,189 who stood and roared for the final four minutes.

Wild 5, Avalanche 2 - Zach Parise scored early and late on tipped shots, and host Minnesota tacked on two empty-net goals for a victory over Colorado that sent the first-round playoff series to a decisive Game 7.

- Associated Press