The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

April 21, 2014

Penguins finish hot to grab 2-1 series lead

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Pittsburgh Penguins also have another P-word going for them: patience.

Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Penguins from yet another two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

Now up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Penguins got off to a horrible start, but took charge in the final two periods.

“It’s not ideal, especially when it’s 2-1 and you fall behind (by two goals) again,” said captain Sidney Crosby. “Typically, it’s not the way you win hockey games. But it showed a lot of character and a lot of patience.”

A two-goal lead has been poison so far in the series. Columbus also blew a 3-1 lead in Game 1, then the Penguins returned the favor Saturday night. In each case the opponent scored the final three goals, the Blue Jackets taking their first playoff victory in double-overtime just 48 hours earlier in Pittsburgh. All three games have ended 4-3.

“Anytime a team gets a lead they find a way to give it up,” Sutter said.

Game 4 is Wednesday night here.

Down 2-0 early and then 3-1 in the third, the veteran Penguins scored on three consecutive shots.

Coach Dan Bylsma called a timeout after goals by Boone Jenner and Jack Johnson staked the Blue Jackets to a 2-0 lead 3:18 in before a raucous, overflow crowd of 19,148. The Penguins collected themselves and then collected another comeback win.

“We needed to reset,” Bylsma said.

The surge began with less than 2 seconds left in the second period when Brooks Orpik rifled a hard wrister past Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, making it 2-1.

Just over a minute into the third period, the Blue Jackets pushed the lead back to two goals. Brandon Dubinsky, who had two assists, spun and fired a backhander that hit the glove of teammate Cam Atkinson and beat a surprised Marc-Andre Fleury.

Fleury slammed the door after that.

“I took it one shot at a time, tried to keep within the game,” he said. “Just make the next save.”

His high-powered offense did the rest. The Penguins found their game, dominating with a 41-20 advantage in shots on goal and controlling the pace.

Paul Martin’s shot from the point was redirected by Sutter. Just 1:10 later, Stempniak took a short pass from Kris Letang and waded in from the right wing, beating Bobrovsky.

“A lot of guys here have won and been on long runs,” said Stempniak. “They kept their belief. I think everybody just fed off of that. We generated a lot of shots and had a lot of opportunities. It was good to just keep going with it.”

Then Jokinen redirected Olli Maatta’s shot from the point and it glanced in off Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski, thoroughly deflating a crowd waiting to celebrate an historic win.

“We played well,” Maatta said. “At the end, it was a couple of bounces.”

Columbus’ last best chance came with 30 seconds left when Fleury made a blocker save on Ryan Johansen’s hard shot.

“They’ve got a good team over there,” said Dubinsky, who had two assists for the Blue Jackets, matching Martin and Beau Bennett of the Penguins. “We just have to find a way to rebound and be resilient. We have been all year long, so I’m confident in this group.”

R.J. Umberger, the Columbus forward from Pittsburgh, said it was important for the young Blue Jackets to stay the course. In other words, be patient just like the veteran Penguins.

“It’s a long series still,” Umberger said. “We can’t let that be the turning point.”

The Blue Jackets were trying for their first playoff victory at home. They were 0-5 in the postseason until pulling off a stunning 4-3 double-overtime victory Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

Much like after blowing a two-goal lead in Game 1, they’ll have to find a way to regroup.

“I don’t think it was about stepping off the gas,” coach Todd Richards said. “The attitude was good. We made a couple of mistakes and they started skating. That was the difference.”

Notes: Columbus LW Nick Foligno (knee) returned after missing the last four games of the regular season and the first two games of the series. D Fedor Tyutin, who left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury, did not dress. ... The Penguins were without Brian Gibbons, who had two goals in the opener, but left in the first period of Game 2. ... Crosby has no goals in his past seven playoff games, and Malkin is scoreless in his past six.

–––

Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy 0720 McIlroy holds on to win British Open

    Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf’s oldest trophy.
    On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0719 Pirates take second straight over Rockies, win in 11th inning

    Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
    Walker led off the inning with a single against Colorado’s Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored one batter later when Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-center.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • out at home Eighth-inning rally carries Pirates to victory over Rockies

    Travis Snider’s pinch-hit double in the eighth scored Neil Walker to spark the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
    Walker trotted home when Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez couldn’t track down Snider’s sinking line drive off reliever Matt Belisle (2-5). All-Star Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly one batter later.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • score Pirates in race, hope for late surge

    The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in an average, every day – if still heated – pennant race.
    A season after shedding the yoke of two decades of failure with a stirring run to a playoff berth, the Pirates are just another solid if not spectacular team trying to keep pace in the jam-packed NL Central.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Derby 0714 Cespedes wins again, beating Frazier in HR derby

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-Star Game 0714 Pitching matchup features two of game’s most dominant arms

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeter 0714 Derek Jeter, an All-Star for the last time

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cleveland Browns getting 'Swagger’ with new dog mascot

    Johnny Manziel’s newest teammate with the Browns has four legs and can roll over on command.

    July 14, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads