Columbus Blue Jackets remain alive with win over Pittsburgh Penguins

By Doug Bean, The Sports Xchange
Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) waits for the face-off in the third period. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
1 of 2 | Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) waits for the face-off in the third period. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets are not dead yet.

Facing elimination against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Blue Jackets came out aggressively at the start and this time didn't falter in front of a boisterous home crowd.


Five players scored goals and Columbus held on for a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday night in Nationwide Arena.

"Everybody contributed," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "That's the way we've won all year."

William Karlsson, Boone Jenner and Markus Nutivaara each had a goal and an assist each, Jack Johnson and Josh Anderson scored one goal each and Brandon Saad contributed two assists to give the Blue Jackets their first postseason win in three years.

Columbus still trails 3-1 in the competitive series, which shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Thursday night.


"We're all excited here tonight," Saad said. "But we have a lot more work to do."

The Penguins weren't able to finish off their Metropolitan Division rivals on the road. Patric Hornqvist, Ron Hainsey, Tom Kuhnhackl and Jake Guentzel scored the goals for Pittsburgh, Phil Kessel had three assists and Evgeni Maklin had two assists.

"We weren't committed like our team usually is," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I know we're better and we'll be better. We certainly weren't good enough tonight.

"We were in the game all night long. We kept climbing back. We had moments in the game when we had some life, some momentum. I don't think they had the same jump they normally have. Give Columbus credit, they played well."

The Blue Jackets have played well in the first period in every game of the series, but this time they were able to answer the Penguins' surges. In Game 3, Columbus led 3-1 and ended up losing 5-4 in overtime.

The Blue Jackets were up 3-2 entering the third in Game 4 and scored just 27 seconds into the period. Karlsson's first playoff goal made it 4-2.


The Penguins responded to pull within one again at 2:10 of the third on Kuhnhackl's goal. Jenner gave the Blue Jackets some breathing room again with a tip-in on a shot from Saad that made it 5-3.

The Penguins scored a shorthanded goal with the goalie pulled with 26.4 seconds left when Guentzel put a rebound past Sergei Bobrovsky for his fifth goal of the series.

"We didn't allow them to surge for many minutes in the third period," Tortorella said. "In Game 3, we couldn't stop them."

Nutivaara's goal at 4:48 of the second period boosted the Blue Jackets' lead to 3-0.

But back came the Penguins. Less than two minutes later, Hornqvist made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 6:43 of the second.

Pittsburgh closed within one at 16:24 of the second when Hainsey scored his first goal of the series on a shot from the boards that went between the legs of teammate Bryan Rust and found its way past Bobrovsky.

But Bobrovsky, who finished with 27 saves, and the Blue Jackets never lost the lead. Now they have another chance to extend the series.


"We're all happy," Bobrovsky said. "We'll enjoy tonight and move on."

The Blue Jackets scored the first goal for the second straight game. Johnson fired a slap shot from above the right circle that deflected off Sidney Crosby's skate and past Marc-Andre Fleury at 11:46 of the first period. With 1:04 left in the first, Anderson's first career playoff goal made it 2-0.

"You keep playing with fire and not have a great start you're going to pay for it," Penguins center Matt Cullen said. "It's on us to respond at home."

NOTES: Blue Jackets D Zach Werenski is out for the remainder of the playoffs after sustaining facial fractures during Game 3 on Sunday night. Werenski was one of the top rookies in the NHL this season. ... Veteran D Kyle Quincey, a midseason pickup in a trade with the New Jersey Devils, took Werenski's place. Quincey had not played in the first three games. ... Penguins G Matt Murray remained out for the fourth straight game with a lower-body injury sustained before the series opener. ... D Markus Nutivaara made his playoff debut for the Blue Jackets, replacing D Scott Harrington. ... Blue Jackets C Lukas Sedlak returned after missing the previous eight games with an upper-body injury. He replaced veteran Scott Hartnell, who was a healthy scratch. ... Columbus LW Matt Calvert was back on the ice after a one-game suspension for his cross-check at the end of Game 2.


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