NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Columbus
(Wednesday, April 23rd)
Final Score: Columbus 4, Pittsburgh 3 (OT)
Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Nick Foligno's tally at 2:49 of overtime gave the Columbus Blue Jackets their first home playoff win in franchise history, a 4-3 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins which evened this Eastern Conference quarterfinal at two games apiece.
Foligno carried the puck up the left wing through the neutral zone in a 1- on-1 with Pens defenseman Matt Niskanen, then released the puck below the circle, where it dropped from the glove hand of Marc-Andre Fleury and slid home.
"I didn't think it would actually work, but it ended up working, so I'm thanking my lucky stars tonight," Foligno said.
Fleury was also responsible for a miscue leading to the Blue Jackets' tying goal with less than 24 seconds remaining in regulation. He headed behind his net to play a Jack Johnson dump-in, but the puck hopped over his stick and found Ryan Johansen, who dished into the slot for a successful shot by Brandon Dubinsky.
Fleury ended up with 42 saves in the crushing setback, while counterpart Sergei Bobrovsky clocked in with 22 stops after giving up the game's first three scores in a span of just over five minutes in the first period.
Johansen and Boone Jenner notched the other goals for the Blue Jackets, who had gone 0-3 in Ohio's capital in the postseason before Wednesday's triumph.
Craig Adams, Chris Kunitz and James Neal tallied for the Penguins, who can steal momentum back home in Game 5 on Saturday.
"We have to respond, from Sidney Crosby right down through our lineup. We have to respond as a team, Marc-Andre Fleury and the whole group," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said.
Adams opened up the scoring while Pittsburgh was shorthanded, whipping a shot over Bobrovsky's shoulder from the right circle just 6:09 in.
It was 2-0 just four seconds into a Derek MacKenzie roughing minor, as Niskanen's blast from the point off a right-circle faceoff win sailed home thanks to a tip from Kunitz at 10:37.
Neal potted his first of the series from a Jussi Jokinen pass only 33 seconds later, but the hosts hit the scoreboard on their first man advantage of the night, as a shot from Mark Letestu caromed off Jenner in front and popped over Fleury at 16:39 of the opening frame.
Columbus had a golden chance to get back into the contest after a double-minor for high sticking to Lee Stempniak and a delay-of-game call to Brandon Sutter gave the Blue Jackets a two minute 5-on-3 in the second period, but Pittsburgh was able to kill off both penalties.
Dubinsky's cross-crease pass was tipped first by Artem Anisimov and then in by Johansen at the left post with 5:40 to play in the second, and several more quality chances found Fleury on a subsequent power play when Niskanen went off for tripping with two minutes left.
The Pens were lucky to be ahead 3-2 after 40 minutes, having been outshot by an 18-6 margin in the middle session.
A James Wisniewski tripping call just after the midway point of the third period passed without a serious scoring chance from Pittsburgh.
According to Elias and the National Hockey League's PR department, this series is the first in league history in which four consecutive games have been won by a team which has trailed by at least two goals ... Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won 16-of-25 faceoffs, including 10-of-17 against Dubinsky ... Wisniewski was credited with two assists, as was Penguins defenseman Paul Martin ... The Blue Jackets scratched defenseman Ryan Murray with a right foot injury suffered when he took a shot to the skate in practice.
04/24 01:19:38 ET