Penguins 8, Hurricanes 3: James Neal recorded a hat trick and added an assist after missing eight games with a concussion as visiting Pittsburgh erupted for five goals in the third period to win its regular-season finale.
Evgeni Malkin collected a power-play goal and two assists with his parents in attendance. Jussi Jokinen scored twice against his former team and Brenden Morrow and Matt Cooke each had a goal and an assist.
Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 27 shots and had an assist in the second straight contest for the top-seeded Penguins, who will face either Ottawa or the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs. The Senators, who visit Boston on Sunday, need to secure at least one point to avoid facing the Penguins.
Neal scored his second of the night after accepting a feed from Malkin at 1:36 of the third period to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead. He converted a 2-on-1 rush to complete his hat trick just over 2 1/2 minutes later and Morrow tallied 70 seconds later.
Kevin Westgarth extended his point streak to three games after scoring the first of his two goals this season. Tuomo Ruutu also tallied and Justin Peters permitted all eight goals on 35 shots for the Hurricanes.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Sidney Crosby participated in the team's morning skate for the first time since suffering a broken jaw against the Islanders on March 30. The Penguins captain missed his 12th game, but looks to return when the team opens its first-round playoff series. ... Pittsburgh D Paul Martin returned after being sidelined since March 28 with a broken bone in his hand. ... Former Penguin Jordan Staal received a standing ovation from the crowd at Consol Energy Center following a video tribute during the first period. Staal spent his first six seasons in the league with Pittsburgh before agreeing to a 10-year contract with Carolina in the offseason.