PITTSBURGH (AP) — Buddy Robinson and Andres Athanasiou scored 26 seconds apart in the third period and the Chicago Blackhawks dealt the Pittsburgh Penguins’ playoff chances a significant blow in a 4-2 win on Tuesday night.

Pittsburgh began the night needing wins in its last two games over Chicago and Columbus to extend the longest active playoff streak in major North American professional sports to 17 years.

Instead, Petr Mrazek made 38 saves, Robinson scored just the fourth goal of his nomadic career to give Chicago a late lead and Pittsburgh finds itself on the outside of the playoffs looking in with just one game to go.

The Florida Panthers clinched one of the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference following losses by Buffalo and Pittsburgh. The New York Islanders can eliminate the Penguins with a win or an overtime loss against Montreal on Wednesday.

Evgeni Malkin’s 27th goal of the season 5:28 into the third period tied the game at 1 and seemed to swing momentum heavily toward the Penguins.

Instead the Blackhawks, in the mix to win the NHL draft letter and the chance to select Connor Bedard, responded by surging ahead for just their second victory in their last 13 games.

Robinson corralled a bouncing puck in the slot and knuckled it by Tristan Jarry to put Chicago up 2-1 with 9:38 remaining. Athanasiou found himself behind the Pittsburgh net moments later and flicked a shot at Jarry that somehow bounced off the goaltender and eventually made its way across the goal line.

Connor Murphy, Tyler Johnson and MacKenzie Entwistle also scored for Chicago.

Danton Heinen added a late goal for Pittsburgh. Jarry stopped 22 shots for the Penguins, who are usually prepping for the playoffs in the final days of the regular season.

Only once during their long run have they come this close to missing the postseason, needing a 2-0 win over Buffalo in 82nd and final game of the 2014-15 season to qualify.

The Penguins haven’t won a playoff series since 2018 and rather than hit the reset button last summer, brought back Malkin and Kris Letang on long-term deals. While Sidney Crosby, Malkin and Letang — who has dealt with a stroke and the passing of his father this season — have been their usually excellent selves, it hasn’t stopped Pittsburgh from enduring an uneven at best season by the franchise’s lofty standards.

Pittsburgh dominated play for long stretches, but Murphy gave the Blackhawks the lead 8:04 into the second when his one-timer from the point found its way through traffic and by Jarry’s left pad before finding the back of the net.

The Penguins only ratcheted up the pressure even further, with Malkin finally breaking through early in the third period with a pretty redirect off a pass by Rickard Rakell that drew Pittsburgh even and led to the emotional Russian star letting loose guttural roar.


Blackhawks: Finish up their third straight losing season on Thursday against Philadephia.

Penguins: Play their regular-season finale at Columbus on Thursday.