The Metropolitan Division is a mess, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are taking advantage of that. On Friday night, the Penguins continued their division dominance by defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-2, to increase their Metropolitan lead to seven points.
The Penguins didn’t waste too much time jumping out to a lead. At 7:11, Chris Kunitz, standing in his office at the front of the net, tipped-in a Paul Martin shot to give Pittsburgh the 1-0 lead via a power play goal. Even though the Penguins carried their 1-0 lead into the locker rooms, the Blue Jackets led in shots, 16-9. Other than the Kunitz goal, the period was all Marc-Andre Fleury.
If you want to say the first period was more of a feeling each other out period, ok, but the second period saw the Penguins take the game over. About a minute into the period, Brandon Sutter kept his hot streak going with his second goal in as many games, wristing a shot past Sergei Bobrovsky to put Pittsburgh up, 2-0. One minute and fifty seconds later, Kris Letang registered Pittsburgh’s second power play goal of the night with a shot that just trickled through Bobrovsky and over the goal line. After giving up his third goal on thirteen shots, Bobrovsky was yanked in favor of Curtis McElhinney. It didn’t matter who was in the Columbus net because the Penguins were scoring goals at a quick pace. That didn’t change as a little over two minutes after Letang’s goal, Jayson Megna and his pumpkin shirt (ladies XL, by the way) put the Penguins up 4-0 after cashing in on a terrific pass from Jussi Jokinen. Give the Jackets credit though as they would not go away without a fight. Before the period ended, Derek MacKenzie was able to beat Fleury for his first goal of the season, and the Jackets’ first of the game to make it a 4-1 game going into the final frame.
Yes, there was a third period, but not too much. The intermission killed the momentum that the Blue Jackets had from the second period. They came out for the third, and immediately took two penalties, Brandon Dubinsky went off for holding twenty-five seconds in and Jack Johnson was called for high-sticking at 4:26. Regardless of how early in the period the penalties occurred, you could just see how they killed Columbus. The Jackets were able to make it a 4-2 game with forty-five seconds remaining in the game when Ryan Johansen walked out from the corner and beat Fleury, but it was too little, too late. The Penguins found their power play in this game, but the spotlight shown on Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury stopped thirty-seven of thirty-nine shots for his tenth win of the season.
The Penguins and Blue Jackets wrap up their home-and-home weekend series tonight in Columbus (7:00 pm/et; Root Sports, FS-O, RDS).
-Tanner Glass got injured at some point during the game, but Dan Bylsma wasn’t saying anything about his status.
-Did Marian Gaborik even play in this game? Didn’t seem like it.
-Jayson Megna is taking advantage of his playing time with Crosby and Malkin.
1. PIT C Evgeni Malkin (2A)
2. PIT G Marc-Andre Fleury (37 saves, .949 save %)
3. PIT C Jayson Megna (1G)