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Bennett, Martin score in Penguins' win

| Thursday, April 3, 2014, 10:44 p.m.
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The Penguins' Beau Bennett is congratulated by Sidney Crosby after scoring against the Jets on Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Jets' Jim Slater (19) checks the Penguins' Paul Martin (7) during the second period Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Jets' Mark Stuart trips up the Penguins' Beau Bennett in the first period Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Penguins' Tanner Glass collides with the Jets' Jacob Trouba against the boards in first-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Penguins' Brooks Orpik, who is skating in his 700th game, collides with the Jets' Eric O'Dell in first-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Penguins' Brooks Orpik, who was skating in his 700th game, collides with the Jets' Eric O'Dell in first-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Jets' Ondrej Pavelec blocks a shot on goal by the Penguins' Jussi Jokinen in first-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Jets' Jim Slater gets shut down by the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury as he gets pressure by Rob Scuderi and Taylor Pyatt in first-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Jets' Eric Tangradi takes the Penguins' Robert Bortuzzo to the boards in first-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Jets' Evander Kane is tripped up by the Penguins' Rob Scuderi in second-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Penguins' Brooks Orpik and the Jets' Anthony Peluso collide in second-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury keeps his eyes on the puck in second-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Penguins' Robert Bortuzzo (41) gets checked into the boards by the Jets' Eric Tangradi (27) as Pens goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) watches during the first period Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Penguins' Brooks Orpik (44) checks the Jets' Eric O'Dell (58) during the first period Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) stops the shot from the Jets' Jim Slater (19) as Pens' Rob Scuderi (4) helps defend during the first period Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) takes out the Penguins' Jussi Jokinen (36) with a check as Jets' Olli Jokinen (12) avoids them during the first period Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) stops the shot by the Jets' Michael Frolik (67) as Matt Niskanen (2) watches during the first period Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Jets' Tobias Enstrom (39) tries to look around the Penguins' Tanner Glass (15) as goaltender Ondrej Pavelec protects his net in third-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Jets' Mark Stuart knocks over the Penguins' Sidney Crosby in third-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Jets' Dustin Byfuglien knocks over the Penguins' Sidney Crosby in third-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Penguins' Sidney Crosby keeps the Jets' Mark Stuart away from the puck in third-period action Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Sidney Crosby might have found his right wing Thursday.

Beau Bennett, in his fourth game after missing four months with a broken wrist, scored a goal and consistently created offense with linemates Crosby and Chris Kunitz in a 4-2 victory.

Defenseman Paul Martin, returning from a broken hand, scored the game-winner in the third period.

The Penguins clinched the Metropolitan Division on Thursday but are far more interested in finding the proper formula for playoff success.

Is Bennett playing on the top line part of that formula?

“Maybe,” Crosby said. “(Our line) was good. I thought we created some really good chances, had some real good opportunities. We weren't able to get some shots away on a few of those. But that takes time. If we end up playing together, we'll try to create more things.”

The Penguins don't have much time to decipher their configurations entering the playoffs, but Bennett is part of their plan.

He has been a strong presence since returning from the broken wrist, scoring twice and using his playmaking skills to create a significant amount of offense.

“Beau's just so skilled,” forward Jussi Jokinen said. “He's really good right now.”

Bennett struggled early in the game, forcing a couple of passes to Crosby that weren't available. After Bennett's second shift, coach Dan Bylsma had a chat with him on the bench.

“Once that happened,” Bennett said, “I settled down and felt good the rest of the game.”

Bennett gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the first period at the tail end of a power play, when he buried a one-timer off a pass from Crosby.

Crosby, Kunitz and Bennett found themselves with numerous opportunities on the rush. The goals didn't come, but they were so close that Bennett and Crosby sound interested in working together again.

“We had a lot more chances than what we finished,” Bennett said. “It was just a matter of knowing where I've got to be. Sid and Kuni have such great chemistry, so it's really up to me to be where they aren't. That'll be a work in progress.”

Crosby and Bennett were placed on the same line in November for two games before Bennett's injury.

“Beau has been playing really well,” Crosby said. “He continued to do what he needs to do tonight.”

The game had the feel of a possible playoff dress rehearsal for the Penguins.

Should Bennett remain on the top line, right wing Lee Stempniak would play on the third line with center Brandon Sutter as he did against Winnipeg.

The Penguins acquired Stempniak in March knowing he could help the first or third lines, and he set up Craig Adams' goal.

The return of Martin didn't hurt the Penguins, either. He played in his regular spot with defenseman Brooks Orpik, who said Martin “didn't miss a beat” in his return. Martin's game-winner came off a feed from James Neal on the power play.

“I wanted that one,” Martin said. “I did. I've missed time twice this year. That's enough.”

The Penguins were pleased with their defensive work, as they held Winnipeg to three shots in the third period. Winnipeg's 15 shots were the second fewest the Penguins have allowed all season.

Right wing Brian Gibbons also scored, and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury earned his 37th win.

Bennett might have earned more time on the top unit. Bylsma said Bennett showed his “hockey sense” while on Crosby's line.

“It's not for me to say if he should be on that line,” Orpik said. “But he is talented. He's got a really high ceiling.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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