NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 23rd
(All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1) at Columbus Blue Jackets (1-2), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to move one win away
from advancing to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs when
they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets for Wednesday's Game 4 at Nationwide
The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, hope to put a Game 3 collapse behind them and
secure the first home playoff win in franchise history as they attempt to even
the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
The first three games of this set between Metropolitan Division combatants
have shown us two-goal leads in this series aren't safe. So far, the loser of
each game in this series held a two-goal cushion at one point but couldn't
On Monday, Columbus scored twice in the first four minutes of regulation, but
Pittsburgh tallied four of the game's last five goals to take the road
The Blue Jackets opened the scoring with Boone Jenner's goal at 1:38 of the
first and Jack Johnson scored 1:40 later to stake Columbus to a 2-0 lead. The
score remained that way until Brooks Orpik beat Sergei Bobrovsky with two
seconds left in the second period.
Columbus restored its two-goal lead just 1:04 into the third stanza when Cam
Atkinson hit the net to make it a 3-1 game, but it was all Pittsburgh from
there. Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Olli Maatta scored on three straight
shots in a 2:13 span to give the Penguins all the offense they would need to
grab a 2-1 edge in the series.
"We just stayed with it," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who had an
assist but remains without a goal in the series. "We knew there was a lot of
hockey left. I thought we out-played them, at least in the second and third
Pittsburgh's game-deciding barrage began when Brandon Sutter deflected Paul
Martin's shot from the high right side at 5:53 of the third. Lee Stempniak
scored on a deft pass from Chris Kunitz behind a trailing defenseman at the
7:03 mark to tie it up and Jussi Jokinen scored 63 seconds later to give the
Pens the 4-3 lead.
"We got caught playing their game, a little bit of the run-and-gun," said
Columbus forward Nick Foligno. "Their transition is so quick and that's what
kind of caught us a couple of times. It was just a lucky bounce with that
fourth one, but that's playoff hockey."
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury allowed two goals on the first three
shots he faced but stopped 16 of the last 17. Fleury's teammates had
opportunities to give him a bigger cushion, but Pittsburgh failed to score on
six chances with the man advantage.
The visitors also outshot Columbus 41-20 in the contest and that includes a
16-7 advantage in the first period when the Blue Jackets grabbed the 2-0
Bobrovsky had stopped all 25 Penguins shots until Orpik's goal in the waning
seconds of the middle stanza. He finished with 37 saves.
The Blue Jackets fell to 0-3 in playoff games at Nationwide Arena. They were
playing on the five-year anniversary of their first home playoff game, a 4-1
loss to Detroit in Game 3 of the 2009 Western Conference quarterfinals. The
Red Wings also won Game 4 that year at Nationwide Arena to sweep the Blue
Columbus is 0-4 against at home against the division champion Penguins since
the start of 2013-14, but the club hopes to reverse that trend tonight and
finally earn a home postseason win.
"I don't think Game 4 can come fast enough," said Johnson.
Pittsburgh finished 16 points ahead of fourth-place Columbus in the
Metropolitan and also went 5-0-0 against the Blue Jackets during the 2013-14
The Blue Jackets were 22-15-4 as the host this season, but Pittsburgh was a
solid 23-15-3 on the road.
This series will head back to Pittsburgh for Game 5, which is scheduled for
Fedor Tyutin missed Monday's game due to an upper-body injury. He did skate in
Tuesday's optional practice and expects to sit out a second straight game
04/23 10:28:39 ET