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Pens vs. Columbus recap: If "ifs and buts" were candies and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas. Pens win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins snap a 5 game losing streak and win their first game under coach Mike Sullivan with a win tonight over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Check out highlights of the goals and our instant analysis of the game here!

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News of the Blue Jackets playing a little-known goalie with a funny name (Joonas Korpisalo) gave me an instant shiver. Three months ago, to the day, Korpisalo stopped 39 of 40 Pens shots in a preseason game, helping CBJ to a win. Given how great the Pens have made opposing goalies look lately, that didn't seem to bode well. Luckily, 23 minutes into the game the clock struck midnight for Korpisalo.

The Goals

The Penguins nightmare of 2015 continued when a puck shot off the back-boards went through Malkin and Trevor Daley and found the stick of Alexander Wennberg . Slam dunk for him right in front to make it 1-0. Also, though we're loath to praise Scott Hartnell, he made a very Mario-esque in Salt Lake City type play to avoid playing the puck and messing it up.

The Pens would get on the board in the second period when (who else) but Evgeni Malkin collects a puck with the Pens on the power play and throws it past Joonas Korpisalo .

Gene, Gene, the holiday celebrating machine.

Soon after, Scott Wilson would chip a puck out to Phil Kessel who got in behind the defense, made a nice move and put it in the net for just his first goal in the last 9 games for his 10th of the season.

Dirty play by Boone Jenner on Malkin, keeping his knee out and sending Malkin down hard. Luckily, after a brief check, Malkin would return to the game. Jenner only received 2 penalty minutes for the hit.

Later in the 2nd, brace yourself, a two goal lead for Pittsburgh for the first time since the 6th grade picnic, seemingly. Nick Bonino looks off the defenseman like a pro (for only his 5th assist of the season) and feathers a beautiful saucer pass to Kessel. Kessel shows the hands of the goalscorer he is by absolutely burying it. This is the pretty type of play we were all hoping for coming into the season, but just haven't gotten.

The Pens finished off a 4 goal second period with David Warsofsky scoring his first goal of the season on the power play, hammering a point shot by Korpisalo.

In the 3rd period Jenner would start CBJ off right when he whipped a shot past Murray to make it 4-2.

The Pens would finish off the win with an empty net goal for Mr. Malkin. Ironically beating the whacks and hacks of Jenner all the way down the ice to cap off the victory.

Hey Dalton Prout, why don't you throw a few more cross-checks for no reason in garbage time, you aggro piece of shit.

Some Thoughts

  • Nice 3v5 PK by the Pens in the first period, when down 1-0. The wheels could have really fallen off that point with another goal (or two) against, but the team held strong.
  • Great job by Scott Wilson in his first NHL game of the season to stand up for Malkin and fight Boone Jenner. Even though Wilson was giving up size and strength and got worked, it's the thought that counts. A guy can't knee-on-knee the best player and there not be a response.
  • Current NHL miscarriage of justice, personified: a goalie flicking the puck over the surface without hitting the glass is the same penalty as taking out a superstar with a knee. That's a function of the game in many regards, but just isn't right.
  • Two assists for the night for Bonino, who only had 3 all season before tonight. Like most on the team, the Pens need a lot more from Bonino, nice to seem him come through.
  • Ditto David Perron with 2 assists tonight (both coming on the PP). And Chris Kunitz with an assist and on-ice for 2 PPG. The Pens need less passengers and more drivers and those guys showed some life tonight for the first time in a while.
  • Matt Murray with a huge save just prior to the first Kessel goal, big time sequence for the young netminder that will fade from memory, but still loomed so large.
  • A night of firsts, really; first NHL point for Wilson, first NHL win for Murray, first Penguin win for Sullivan, first goal with the Pens for Warsofsky,
  • With no Sidney Crosby (undisclosed minor lower body injury) the Pens turned to first-year team player, but very veteran NHL'er Matt Cullen to wear the extra A on the jersey as alternate captain.

The Pens at least get one good game to feel good about themselves and give fans a Christmas treat to at least settle down for the next few days. Pittsburgh is back in action on Saturday night (12/26) at Minnesota after a few days off.