Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 3: Heartbreaker at home
Columbus, OH- The Penguins scored three goals in a span of two minutes, 13 seconds in the third period and beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 tonight in Nationwide Arena, securing a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven, first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Olli Maatta scored in the third period for Pittsburgh, which trailed 2-0 late in the second and 3-1 early in the third.
But as they did in a 4-3 victory in Game 1, the Penguins scored three unanswered goals, including a winner early in the third period.
Boone Jenner and Jack Johnson scored in the first 3:18 of regulation for the Blue Jackets.
Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik cut the lead to 2-1 with just 1.8 seconds remaining in the second period.
But Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson scored when a Brandon Dubinsky shot deflected off his midsection just 1:04 into third, killing the Penguins momentum but only temporarily.
Sutter, Stempniak and Maatta scored even-strength goals at 5:53, 7:03 and 8:06, respectively.
The Blue Jackets got 37 saves from goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky but were outshot 41-20, a disparity that in part caused by 10:26 of Penguins power-play time.
The Blue Jackets committed six minor penalties but killed them all, extending their streak of penalty kills to 12 dating to the second period of Game 2.
But the Penguins did their damage at even strength and weathered a late, extra-skater charge on the net of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (17 saves) to match the Jackets’ road win on Saturday.
Jenner scored his first goal of the series when he buried the juicy rebound of a shot by Jack Skille at 1:38 of the first, quickly igniting a standing-room crowd of 19,148, many of whom had waited 14 years to see the Blue Jackets win a playoff game on home ice.
Johnson made it 2-0 at 3:18 of the first, burying his series-leading third goal from the slot.
The electric atmosphere in the arena at least matched that of both previous home playoff games played in the building in 2009, when the Blue Jackets were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in their only other playoff appearance.
The vast majority of tonight’s crowd was made up of Blue Jackets fans, a sharp departure from three visits by the Penguins and their fans during the regular season.
But Orpik quieted the building when he cut the lead to 2-1.
That goal ended a streak of 52 straight saves in 103 minutes, 16 seconds by Bobrovsky, who shut out the Penguins in the final 63:18 of Game 2.
Game 4 is at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Nationwide.