Home Pittsburgh Sports College Basketball Pens erase two-goal deficit in shootout win over Columbus

Pens erase two-goal deficit in shootout win over Columbus

Evgeni Malkin sparked a two-goal rally in the final 5:36 of play to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-4 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday at the PPG Paints Arena.

For a moment, Sidney Crosby and the Penguins must have known how the Steelers’ Jesse James felt.

23 seconds into overtime, Crosby found the back of the net on a rebound that sent the buzzer blaring and Elvis on a bee-line to leave the building. Elvis was asked to re-enter when the officials deemed that Brian Dumoulin interfered with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, extending play.

“I thought it was going to count,” Crosby said.

Crosby would later get his revenge, netting the deciding tally in the 2-0 shootout.

The waived off goal was just one of the obstacles the Penguins had to overcome to win what Mike Sullivan called “a real character win.”

Columbus jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead with first period goals by Sonny Milano and Boone Jenner. Conor Sheary brought the Pens back to within one early in the second period, but Artemi Panarin got Columbus its goal back before the teams hit the locker room for the second time.

Phil Kessel made it 3-2 when Bobrovsky was unable to swallow up his power play shot 3:34 into the final period, and the Penguins were making a push to score again, but a controversial no-call on what appeared to be a trip on Patric Hornqvist gave the Blue Jackets a breakaway. Panarin scored again to make it 4-2 with 9:58 left to play.

But the Penguins were presented another power play opportunity in the final six minutes, and Evgeni Malkin took over. Malkin pounded in a goal while falling down front of the net within the first seven seconds of the power play to make it 4-3, and he later facilitated the game-tying goal when he took the puck behind the net and found Hornqvist. Hornqvist hit Jake Guentzel with a perfect pass to knot the game at four with 100 seconds to go.

Malkin also made the opening salvo in the shootout.

For a team that might have been looking for a spark, they may have found it.

“This is for sure the best win we’ve had the whole season,” Hornqvist said. “It’s exactly what we need at this point. We haven’t played our best. We all know that. This is something to build on, and we will build on this.”

Matt Murray made 29 saves on 33 shots. Bobrovsky made 33 on 37.

Special Teams Saves the Day

Columbus entered Wednesday with the league’s worst power play (11.8%), and the Penguins made sure their mistakes did not come back to haunt them. The Pens went three for three on the penalty kill, but none was more important than surviving the one in overtime. Guentzel was hit with a high stick 1:37 into the extra period, giving the Blue Jackets a four-on-three advantage, but Columbus was only able to fire one shot.

“It was a huge boost. Those guys did a terrific job,” Sullivan said. “…There’s a lot of momentum swings there [after the waived off goal], and I thought those guys, they were focused, they were locked in, they made great reads, and obviously they had some huge blocked shots, which is a big part of it.”

Nobody appreciated it more than the guy who had his fat pulled out of the fire.

“They were unbelievable,” Guentzel said. “What they did out there was pretty fun to watch. Obviously a little scary there, but those guys did a great job for us.”

Offensively, the Penguins went 2-4 with the man advantage. They are 7-1 this year when they score multiple power play goals.

Sheary Strikes Again

It had been awhile since Sheary found the back of the net, but the Penguins’ winger got the team going Wednesday with his second period goal. It was his second goal in his last 18 games, dating back to Nov. 16.

He almost had one before that, intercepting a puck right in front of Columbus’ net, but he was unable to bury it.

He entered making only one of his last 30 shots.

ON DECK

The Penguins will travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m.. It’ll be the first of two times they will play in a seven day stretch.

NUMB3RS

1. Kessel’s goal was the 10th of his career in 21 games against the Blue Jackets. His third period assist on Malkin’s goal was the 20th point of his career against them, as well. Hornqvist had two assists- on the Kessel and Guentzel goals- and now has 22 career points against Columbus.

2. Speaking of assists, Hornqvist’s assist on the Guentzel goal was the 200th of his career.

3. This was the Penguins’ 75th shootout win in franchise history. That’s the most in NHL history.

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