Penguins rally past Blue Jackets, 4-3
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit. Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury overcame some shaky defense to stop 31 shots.
Game 2 is Saturday night.
Jack Johnson, Mark Letestu and Derek Mackenzie scored for the Blue Jackets, who fell to 0-5 all-time in postseason games. Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 28 saves but was handcuffed by Sutter’s knuckling wrister at the end of a 2-on-1 break.
The Blue Jackets insisted they wouldn’t be intimidated despite Pittsburgh’s overwhelming edge in playoff experience and star power. The Penguins also swept the five regular-season meetings between the two teams.
It took Columbus all of a period to go out and prove it.
Johnson gave the Blue Jackets their first-ever postseason lead 6:20 into the game, charging to the front of the net and taking a feed from Brandon Dubinsky before beating Fleury with a beautiful deke from his forehand to his backhand.
The Penguins answered with 2:51 left in the first when Evgeni Malkin — returning after missing three weeks with a foot injury — took advantage of a turnover by Fedor Tyutin and hit Jokinen in the slot. The knuckling wrist shot sailed over Bobrovsky’s right shoulder and Pittsburgh exhaled.