Saturday night was a night that Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff will never forget. Not only did he get his first career NHL victory, but he got his first career shutout as well. The Penguins scored three goals in support of Zatkoff to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-0, sweeping their weekend home-and-home series.
To begin with, not much happened in the first period. Both goaltenders kept the offenses in check. Curtis McElhinney, starting for Sergei Bobrovsky, made an impressive stop on Pascal Dupuis at 12:37, matching Zatkoff’s save on Blake Comeau at 4:06. The Penguins had one power play opportunity after James Wisniewski was called for cross-checking Evgeni Malkin at 18:35, but it couldn’t produce. The opening period ended in a scoreless tie with Pittsburgh leading in shots, 10-3.
The second period saw more action than the first period did. Pittsburgh’s fourth line came out looking to create scoring chances, which they did just under seven minutes into the period. Dustin Jeffrey started things by corralling the puck and taking some punishment from Jack Johnson long enough to find Joe Vitale in the corner. Vitale then found Deryk Engelland who blasted a shot by McElhinney to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead. Engelland failed to register a goal in forty-two games last year. This year he already has two goals in nine games, both coming playing a forward position. After the Engelland goal, things settled down until Jared Boll was called for boarding with five and a half minutes remaining in the period. It wasn’t a question as to what to call against Boll as he grabbed Kris Letang and rode him into the boards. Letang escaped injury, and the period came to an end with the Penguins up, 1-0.
The third period started with the Penguins outshooting the Blue Jackets, 22-10. Forty-seven seconds into the period, the Penguins were given a gift when Blake Comeau, looking to break up a pass from Chris Kunitz to Sidney Crosby, deflected the puck into his own net to add to Pittsburgh’s lead. Kunitz was given credit for the goal, his eighth of the season. The Penguins controlled the rest of the game even though they registered on five shots in the final period. With forty seconds remaining in the game, Jussi Jokinen put the game on ice with an empty net goal to give the Penguins the 3-0 victory. Jeff Zatkoff made nineteen saves for his first career NHL win and shutout.
The Penguins don’t have a game until Wednesday night when they travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers (7:30 pm/et; NBC Sports Network).
-Here’s to hoping that Deryk Engelland never sees any minutes as a defenseman again.
-Jeff Zatkoff with the game puck from his milestone performance.
-Strong defensive efforts from Paul Martin and Olli Maatta.
-Marian Gaborik still plays for the Blue Jackets, right?
1. PIT RW Deryk Engelland (1G)
2. PIT G Jeff Zatkoff (19 saves, 1.000 save %)
3. CBJ G Curtis McElhinney (24 saves, .923 save %)