The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets met for the final time this preseason, with the Blue Jackets getting the best of the Penguins once again, 5-3. Both sides featured about the same faces that played in their first game on September 15 in Columbus.
The Blue Jackets opened the scoring a little more than a minute into the first period when Brandon Dubinsky reintroduced himself to Pittsburgh with a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to put Columbus up 1-0. The Jackets added another tally at 8:35 on a deflection by Boone Jenner on a Jack Johnson shot from the blue line. Columbus took their 2-0 lead into the first intermission despite being outshot by the Penguins, 15-5.
The second period continued to swing in favor of the Blue Jackets as they added to their lead early in the frame. At 2:30, Cam Atkinson took a pass from Ryan Murray and ripped the puck past Fleury to give Columbus a 3-0 lead. Atkinson looks like he could have himself a year in Columbus. After it became a 3-0 game for the Blue Jackets, it became the Jussi Jokinen show. Jokinen was put on a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, and he made the most of that opportunity by scoring three straight goals for the natural hat trick. The first goal came at 4:17 on a backhand shot from Malkin and Robert Bortuzzo. About six minutes later, Jokinen struck again for his second goal of the game, this time it came from Malkin, who made a nasty backhand pass, and Neal to make it a 3-2 game. Finally at 12:45, the Finnish forward tied the game at three with a wrist shot that bounced off of Sergei Bobrovsky and into the back of the net. The goal-filled second period ended with the score tied at three, but the Blue Jackets led in shots, 10-8.
As the second period saw the Penguins erase a three-goal deficit, the third period them fall short of fully completing their comeback. A little over seven minutes into the final frame, Boone Jenner re-appeared, showing why Columbus is so high on the twenty-year old, scoring on a backhand shot that may have bounced off the leg of Brooks Orpik and behind Fleury to give the Jackets the 4-3 lead. Derek MacKenzie added an empty net goal in the closing seconds to seal the Blue Jackets’ 5-3 victory.
The Penguins stay in Pittsburgh as they await the Chicago Blackhawks for their meeting on Monday night.
-As mentioned earlier, Cam Atkinson looks like he could have a career year for Columbus.
-Harry Zolnierczyk had either a good or a bad game. I’m honestly not sure; I guess it depends on how you want to look at it.
-Jussi Jokinen gave the coaching staff something to think about with his quick chemistry with Malkin and Neal.
1. Jussi Jokinen (three goals)
2. Boone Jenner (two goals)
3. Brandon Dubinsky (one goal, three assists, +5)