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Penguins-Blue Jackets Recap: Jackets Finally Overcome Pens, Stay Alive With 4-1 Win

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The Blue Jackets got the result they desperately needed.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

Lineups

1st Period

Just 20 seconds into the game, Boone Jenner was called for slashing Justin Schultz. Pittsburgh to the power-play. Nothing could materialize for the Penguins with the man advantage and 5v5 hockey resumed.

Right out of the penalty box came Boone Jenner to give the Blue Jackets the 1-0 lead. First shot, first goal.

Matt Murray was able respond with two massive saves to try and cool down the Blue Jackets’ fast-paced attack. Columbus came out of the gate and visibly looked like a team with their season on the line.

Adam McQuaid and Patric Hornqvist were penalized after a short scrum and 4-on-4 hockey ensued. With 11:25 left in the first, David Savard was called for interfering with Evgeni Malkin, giving Pittsburgh a 4-on-3 power-play. The Penguins fell to 0-2 on the power-play after another kill by the Jackets.

An even-up penalty call was inevitable for the Blue Jackets and Zach Aston-Reese got caught slashing Artemi Panarin. A strong penalty kill by the Penguins would resume even-strength play.

Nick Bjugstad was called for hooking Boone Jenner with 45 seconds left in the period.

The period would come to an end and everyone was able to catch their breath after a crazy-fast first frame.

2nd Period

The leftover penalty time from the first period expired with no goal being scored. However, another penalty was called, as Seth Jones was called for tripping and Pittsburgh goes back to the power-play. This had to have been close to penalty no. 69 so far in the game.

What was not so nice was Cam Atkinson scoring a short-handed goal 30 seconds into the Penguins power-play. 2-0 Blue Jackets.

The Penguins power-play expired with the team holding a goose egg on the scoreboard.

Zach Aston-Reese would cut the lead in half with 13 minutes left in the period after a quick pass from Evgeni Malkin. This was Geno’s 998th career point after registering the primary assist.

Matt Murray, folks... Wow.

The frantic play and pace of the period slowed down quite a bit when compared to the first period.

The clock would hit triple zeroes with the Blue Jackets holding onto a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.

3rd Period

The third period, predictably, came with few chances for both teams. Everyone said this game would carry a playoff-like atmosphere and that billing delivered.

With 7 minutes left in the game, Jake Guentzel was penalized for interference.

The Penguins came through with a huge penalty kill to keep it a one-goal game.

Oliver Bjorkstrand gave the Jackets the insurance goal they were looking for with 3 minutes left in regulation. 3-1 CBJ.

Matt Murray was pulled with two-and-a-half minutes left, but Cam Atkinson recorded the EN. 4-1 CBJ.

Final Thoughts

  • Matt Murray was simply outstanding tonight, making numerous saves that could easily qualify as “save of the year” candidates.
  • The rest of the team, however, didn’t show up. The lack of success on the power-play in the game is a big reason for the Penguins’ defeat. Without Murray, it would have been a definite snoozer.
  • With the Penguins failing to get the season sweep of the Blue Jackets, Columbus has gained two valuable points as they look to right their ship and get into the playoff picture. Columbus now has 79 points and is right in the middle of the wild card battle.
  • Pittsburgh has no time to rest because they are back in action tomorrow night when they return home to play the surging Boston Bruins.