Riley Sheahan scored two goals in the first period, rookie Tristan Jarry had 35 saves and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Sunday night.
Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists, and Brian Dumoulin and Zach Aston-Reese also scored for the Penguins. They have won five straight and 10 of their last 12. The win in front of a sellout crowd at Nationwide Arena moved them past Washington into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
The 22-year-old Jarry played well standing in for starter Matt Murray, who got a rest as Pittsburgh played the second leg of a back-to-back and its third game in four days. It was Jarry’s first NHL action in a month after going 3-0 in three starts for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL.
Artemi Panarin and Alexander Wennberg scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 18 shots for the Blue Jackets. They have lost two straight and seven of the last nine. In what is becoming the norm lately, Columbus outshot its opponent (37-23) but couldn’t score enough to win. The Blue Jackets lead the NHL in shots per game but are lingering near the bottom of the division.
The Penguins had just seven shots in the first period but scored on three of them.
Sheahan got credit for his seventh goal of the season when he redirected a shot from Jamie Oleksiak.
Later in the first, Dumoulin scored with a slap shot from the left point off a beautiful no-look drop pass from Evgeni Malkin.
Three minutes later, Panarin tapped in his 16th goal of the season, set up by Cam Atkinson, to make it 2-1.
Sheahan got his second tally of the game with 8:31 left in the first. Bobrovsky got a piece of the wrist shot from top of the right circle but couldn’t keep it out of the net.
Aston-Reese made it 4-1 when he tipped in a rebound off Zach Werenski’s skate in traffic 9:29 into the second.
The Blue Jackets seemed to come out with a little more juice in the third period, and Wennberg, open in front of the goal, swept in a Boone Jenner pass 2:21 into the frame. But they couldn’t sustain it. Guentzel topped it off for Pittsburgh with 5:51 left.
NOTES: The Columbus captain, Nick Foligno, suffered a “lower-body” injury and didn’t play for most of the third period. … Pittsburgh’s 16-4-1 record since the beginning of the calendar year leads the NHL. … Blue Jackets D Dean Kukan suffered an “upper-body” injury in the first period and didn’t return. … Columbus D Markus Nutivaara didn’t play after he was injured in Friday night’s game against Philadelphia. Scott Harrington replaced him in the lineup.
Pittsburgh: Travels to Carolina Friday night