Blue Jackets beat Penguins in double OT, 4-3



It took Columbus 14 years to win a Stanley Cup playoff game.

It might be nearly that long before the Blue Jackets earn another one as satisfying as the first.

It's not just that the Blue Jackets beat the Penguins, 4-3, in double-overtime Saturday night at Consol Energy Center in Game 2 of their opening-round playoff series.

Bylsma discusses game 2 loss

Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma discusses his double overtime loss to the Blue Jackets in game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Saturday night. (Video by Matt Freed; 4/19/2014)

It's the way they did it.

Columbus survived a near-perfect period of hockey by the Penguins when the game began, then altered the course of the game with a short-handed goal -- their second of the series -- in the second.

Matt Calvert, who had scored that short-handed goal, ended the game at 1:10 of the second overtime when he collected a rebound and, after goalie Marc-Andre Fleury rejected his first shot, stuck the rebound into the top of the net.

"I thought that [first shot was] going in," Calvert said. "Luckily enough, it came back to me, and I was able to put it upstairs."

Fleury and his Columbus counterpart, Sergei Bobrovsky, both produced a number of saves that prevented the game from ending much earlier than it did. One of the Penguins' best opportunities came late in the first overtime, when he denied Lee Stempniak from close range.

"He made a nice save," Stempniak said. "You'd like to put that in."

The series is tied, 1-1, and will resume with Game 3 at 7:08 p.m. Monday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

The Penguins have had home-ice advantage in eight consecutive playoff series, but have gotten a 2-0 start just once. They overcame a slow start in Game 1 to post a 4-3 victory. In Game 2, the Penguins absolutely dominated the first 20 minutes and had a 3-1 lead to show for their efforts.

Brian Gibbons logged just two minutes and 26 seconds of ice time before leaving with an unspecified injury that appeared to result from a collision with Columbus center Ryan Johansen, but that was enough time for him to score the Penguins' first two goals.

He put them in front 3½ minutes in, when Matt Niskanen's wrist shot from the right point deflected off him and into the net behind Bobrovsky. The Penguins were killing a minor to Joe Vitale when, at 4:24, Gibbons chased down a Paul Martin pass in the Columbus zone and drove to the net, throwing a fake or two at Bobrovsky before putting the puck behind him for a short-handed goal.

Johansen resuscitated Columbus with a power-play goal at 5:07, but Niskanen restored the Penguins' two-goal lead with a power-play goal at 17:52.

The Penguins ran up a 15-4 advantage in shots during the first.

"We didn't give them anything," Niskanen said. "They didn't have a sniff in the hockey game for the majority of that first period."

That all changed at 7:31 of the second, when Calvert beat Fleury during a short-handed two-on-one break to make it 3-2. While the Penguins had controlled play to that point, the Blue Jackets had the upper hand for the balance of the night.

"For about 10 minutes after that short-handed goal, we let them back in the game," Niskanen said. "We kind of shot ourselves in the foot and let them back into it.

"Sometimes, you're going to lose momentum -- those things are going to happen -- but I think today was a little bit preventable."

The Penguins failed to take advantage of numerous chances with the extra man to add to their lead -- "It's tough for the power play to struggle like that when we have an opportunity to win games," Stempniak said -- and Columbus made the most of one late in the third, as Jack Johnson put the game into overtime by throwing a shot into a half-open net at 13:59.

Both teams scored once while down a man, but Columbus was 2 for 6 on the power play, while the Penguins capitalized on just one of eight chances.

"Clearly, special teams is the difference in the game," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

And so the Blue Jackets, who entered the series as decided underdogs, have seized home-ice advantage by virtue of their refusal to accept a defeat that seemed inevitable after the first 20 minutes.

"It is a little nerve-wracking," Calvert said. "But we've been doing it all year."

And for the first time in franchise history, they've done it in the playoffs.


Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@Post-Gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG First Published April 19, 2014 11:14 PM

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