The Pittsburgh Penguins opened the 2013-2014 NHL season with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the preseason opener for both squads. The Penguins made the trip across state borders without Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, and Pascal Dupuis, and presented a lineup consisting of a young defense of recent draft picks.
James Neal kicked off the hockey season forty-seven seconds into the first period when he slid a puck under the pads of Blue Jackets goaltender, Curtis McElhinney, to give the Penguins the early 1-0 advantage. A few minutes later, Artem Anisimov got Columbus on the board when he deflected a Nikita Nikitin shot behind Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the game at one. Pittsburgh retaliated at 10:50 with a goal from Chuck Kobasew, who found his own rebound and flipped over a sprawled out McElhinney. That would not be the only time you would hear from the man on a try-out contract. Before the period came to an end, Columbus got a five-on-three power play opportunity from a boarding penalty on Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and a slashing call on Tanner Glass. James Wisniewski capitalized on the two-man advantage by slapping a shot past Fleury to tie the game at two going into the intermission.
Since nothing worth noting happened in the second period, let us skip ahead to the third, shall we? Much like the first period, the Penguins opened the scoring, but this time it was Dustin Jeffrey snapping a shot past new Blue Jackets goaltender, Oscar Dansk. The third period saw the physicality between the two metropolitan division rivals pick-up as Adam Payerl and Ilari Melart dropped the mitts at 4:51. After both men were seated for their scrap, Columbus lit the lamp twice. The first goal tied the game at three and came from ex-Penguin, Mark Letestu. Letestu scored on a backhand shot that found its way past Jeff Zatkoff, who replaced Marc-Andre Fleury at the start of the period. Less than a minute later, Cam Atkinson gave the Jackets a 4-3 lead when he wristed a shot from the between the circles past the Pittsburgh netminder. As noted earlier, we would hear from Chuck Kobasew again. At 13:05, the former first round draft choice of the Calgary Flames, tied the game a four with a power play goal that was set-up by a drop pass from Tom Kuhnhackl in front of Dansk. With less than four minutes remaining in the period, Joe Vitale and James Wisniewski got into a disagreement with Vitale showing some effects from it. The period came to a conclusion with both teams tied at four.
Less than five minutes into the overtime period, the Blue Jackets got an encouraging sign from their 2012 first round draft pick (2nd overall), Ryan Murray, who took an R.J. Umberger pass and wristed the puck past Zatkoff to give Columbus the 5-4 victory.
-Beau Bennett did not look out of place with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal on the second line. He was very physical and set-up the Neal goal.
-Penguins defenseman, Brian Dumoulin left the game early with an upper-body injury. Bobby Farnham also left with a lower-body injury.
-Scott Harrington and Derrick Pouliot looked very solid on the blue line.
1. Ryan Murray (1 goal)
2. James Wisniewski (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Curtis McElhinney (24 saves, .923 save %)