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Penguins outlast Blue Jackets, take Game 1

Apr 16, 2014, 10:22 PM EST

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One Getty Images

Close, but no cigar for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Seeking the first-ever playoff win in franchise history, Columbus seemed to have the Pittsburgh Penguins on the ropes in Game 1 with a 3-1 lead, but Pittsburgh fought its way back with three unanswered goals to win 4-3, taking a 1-0 series lead in the process.

Even in defeat, the Blue Jackets still made a little franchise history while also showing that they can compete with the established East power. Jack Johnson‘s 1-0 goal gave Columbus its first lead in a playoff game in franchise history.

So there’s that.

Overall, the Blue Jackets made a pretty convincing argument that they might make the Penguins sweat in this series, managing a 34-32 shot advantage while establishing a physical presence and a relentless, heavy forecheck.

Brandon Sutter factored into some of the game’s most memorable moments, missing out on a penalty (or even penalty shot) but getting back at the Blue Jackets by scoring the game-winning goal:

Pittsburgh also got eight combined points from Paul Martin, Matt Niskanen, Evgeni Malkin and rookie Beau Bennett, who assisted on Sutter’s game-winner. For Columbus, Jack Johnson led the way with a goal and assist, while Derek MacKenzie and Mark Letestu scored the other goals.

In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury got the better of Sergei Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina winner, by stopping 31 of 34 shots — Bobrovsky wasn’t a brick wall by any stretch on Wednesday night, finishing with a .875 save percentage after allowing four goals on 32 shots.

Looking ahead, the Blue Jackets get a few days to gather themselves as Game 2 takes place on Saturday. Despite the strides they made tonight, the moral victories will start to fade if they cannot gain their first-ever playoff win soon.

  1. icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Lack of team defense doesn’t bode well for any team trying to win a Stanley Cup. Regardless, the Pens need only 15 more wins.

    • penguins87and71 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      The 1st goal was on the defense but, I thought the defense played a decent game, I think what cost the Penguins more was puck management, they need to control the puck better, and not turn it over at the red line or blue line.

      • 19to77 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:54 PM

        I think you can put a particularly large share of that specifically on Kris Letang. And as much as he doesn’t play like one, he is technically a defenseman. Not a good position to entrust to a turnover machine.

      • FoozieGrooler - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:17 PM

        well somebody needs to tell LeTang to only pass to the guys in the BLACK jerseys…

      • bmscalise - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM

        Letang wasn’t even on the ice for the first goal, people: that was Martin (who otherwise played a very good game). Blame Letang all you want for two unnecessary penalties – but it’s really ridiculous to be so steadfastly against a player that you blame him for goals he wasn’t even the ice for.

  2. whammy71 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Drink up yinz beotches!!!! 1 down – 15 to go…..start setting up for the parade!

    Pens are getting on a roll and the BJs will start rolling over.

    • 19to77 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      God, it’s gonna be satisfying watching the Bruins ream you people again.

      • JoeAvg - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        Both teams have to make it their first. Aren’t you counting your chickens a little early too?

      • wettwork - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:48 AM

        Bruins ain’t Gna make it past philthy !!😜

      • hockey412 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:09 AM

        Hate to break it to you wetrwork, philly would play Pittsburgh before the Bruins. Confused on what you are talking about.

      • whammy71 - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:22 AM

        Gotta get there first.

    • spitfisher - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      If there is one Penquin who will fail miserably, sending the team to the golf course it will be Fluery. He’s inconsistent, at times he’s good, But for the most part he’s a liability last year that was never addressed. The penqueers won the game, but could have easily had lost it on home ice. Columbus should not be taken likely.

  3. deisel19 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Ugly win. Tanger needs to clean it up or Danny boy needs to sit him down for a game. Fleury finished strong but really struggled in the early going. He hasn’t done much to show he’s gonna play differently in the playoffs. I would say he needs one game to really boost his confidence but that is what we were swaying in the Philly series 2 years ago and he pitched a shutout in game 1 before falling apart.

    • penguins87and71 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      Why would want to sit Kris Letang? Tonight was his 4th game back from suffering a stroke! When he wasn’t in the Penguins lineup, they had trouble carrying the puck into their own zone on the power play. As for Fleury I thought the 1st goal was kind of on him, he was sorta out of position on that goal, I though he played a solid game and made some big saves that helped the Penguins to win the game.

  4. pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Pens didn’t have a great start but after Columbus’ third goal they woke up and played better. Columbus played a good game but the Pens got the timely goals. Sid was big at the end of the game with getting the puck out. Happy to see us win the game.

  5. Stiller43 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    15 more.

  6. dirt2013 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    If Bob is going to play like that the series will not go 5.Flower made the saves he needed to make in the 3rd to win the game.Pressure is now on the BJ’s.

  7. csilojohnson - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    I thought Fleury had a decent game.
    Im not worried about him.
    The defense was horrible for the better part of the game. Hopefully just due to a few guys still getting comfortable since returning from injury.
    1-0! GO PENS!

    • sicklife1 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      How can you NOT be worried about Fleury with his playoff history? Doesn’t matter how good he is in the regular season, Penguin fans always have to be a bit worried with him in net after the past couple of playoff seasons. He can be brutally awful.

  8. c9castine - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    Thank you NBCsports for screwing me out of watching the game. Set it to record, get home and start playing it and there is a scroll on the bottom that says it is blacked out in Pittsburgh. I checked the local channel and it said it was playing the Pirates game.

    I know im throwing a bit of a temper tantrum here, but wtf. Dont list the game in the Pittsburgh area TV guide if its not going to be played, or atleast throw in the disclaimer sometime before the game start time.

    F’ers. 1 down, 15 to go.

    • killerpgh - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      I think it’s the 1st two rounds will be on locally and black out on on other channels unless that game is on the NBC (main channel, not NBCSN or the other channels that show playoff games)

    • pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      Remember the rest of the games are on Root. Local coverage usually gets coverage of the first round unless it’s a marquee match up like Pens/Flyers then NBC gets a fair share of games.

      • c9castine - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        yeah root always gets the first round then its national afterwards….

        just sucks when i go up to root sports in the guide and it says MLB baseball…

        i made the decision to record the one where it had the game scheduled because (and this is stupid) i also wanted to record the tampa bay game, and i couldnt record root sports, cnbc, and nbc at the same time to cover my bases.

        lesson learned.

      • miketoasty - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        Interesting c9castine, for me it showed Penguins vs Blue Jackets on Root, what provider are you using?

      • c9castine - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        miketoasty – verizon. one of my friends said he had the same issue but apparently he picks girls better cause his lady was on it and recorded it regardless of the fact that it said baseball.

    • c9castine - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      i think its worth noting that this is the first game i have not watched in 4 years.

      and its a freakin playoff game.

      • hockey412 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:13 AM

        DUDE YOU CAN’T WATCH ANY OF THEM NOW.

        You didn’t watch and they won! You can’t watch them now. They might lose.

        Just kidding man – I know how that feels to miss those, many more to go.

      • mangoman1966 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:35 AM

        Back into the basement you go til we lose one

      • c9castine - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:05 AM

        my basement contains a mattress to shoot pucks at, cockroaches, and my cats litter box. i aint going down there. only my girlfriend goes down there to clean that thing, or im shooting pucks. in extreme cases i use the bathroom. thats right. this is pittsburgh we have toilets in our basements.

        see, i missed the game because i was at work. sorry, dont lead your lifestyle.

    • 7mantel - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      The league decides tv coverage not the network !

      take your gripes somewhere else

    • comeonnowguys - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      Sound like a normal day in the markets bordering Chicagoland when a Blackhawks game is on WGN. Blacked out because of “local coverage” we don’t get.

  9. cheesesteak75 - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    The Pens played this game like a regular season game. They will really need to step it up if they expect to win 15 more this season! However, it’s good to start the post season off with a win.

  10. penvik - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Fleury was great, the first few goals are not on him. Defense and defensive zone coverage was terrible. We have to stop letting teams set up 5 on 5 in our zone!!

    • miketoasty - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      Not sure why the thumbs down, the first goal was a terrible play by Martin which lead to a breakaway and a decent backhand that beat Fleury. The second goal was a guy wide open in the slot, not a great rebound let up by Fleury but still you should never leave anyone wide open in the slot. Final goal allowed by Fleury was a clean breakaway and a shot from a rolling puck that he even got a piece of just not enough.

      I guess you can blame Fleury on one of the three goals but to say he was responsible for all three is asinine.

  11. billiam55 - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    the PP was the difference tonight for the pens

  12. blomfeld - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    JACKETS IN SIX !!! :) :) :)

    Notwithstanding Crosby, eye shadow, purses and such, I say that Columbus now takes the bull (brassiere) by the horns and teaches him a lesson once and for all ! :)

    executive summary: the Pittsburgh Penguins = Girl Power !

    • comeonnowguys - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      As if you couldn’t get more evil.

      Spice Girls?

      This man is out of control.

  13. atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    All of the storylines in this game, Fleury winning a game, Malkin getting two points, yet TSN’s analysis is about how despite being -2 and getting no points Crosby did a great job of being focused. First off for the player many consider to be the best in the league, being focused is not a benchmark they should ever talk about. Secondly, if Crosby is great in a game then lets talk about him, if he’s bad in a game lets talk about him (hopefully in an honest way) but on a night where there are other compelling storylines from the game and Crosby did nothing of note, don’t talk about him!

    With that out of the way, this round should be the warm up round for the Pens (probably be over in 4 or 5), the winner of the Rangers/Flyers series will be a real test for them, and I would expect it to be a brutal war of a series.

    • iamcanadian87 - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:15 AM

      Crosby made a ton of things happen in the 2nd and 3rd period, he and his line had a lot of chances and were flying out there.

      Also, The Kid assisted on Niskanen’s goal.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:02 AM

        I’m not knocking him or his play in any way, I’m knocking TSN’s coverage, rather than talking about the game, the goalie who got a win he badly needed for his confidence, the guys who scored, Malkin’s two assists or even what you’re talking about, TSN went with the narrative of “Crosby being -2 doesn’t matter, he kept his focus” it’s poor coverage, focus on what the Penguins did right, and where Columbus needs to improve in order to win, not on something so ridiculous.

    • hockey412 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:20 AM

      I think the coverage was decent…I actually noticed a difference in Crosby also, just like the announcers. He needs to keep it up. Aggitate, play hard, fine, but skate away and don’t get in the scrums. He did that last night, and while it isn’t the biggest deal in the world, it certainly has been a reason the Pens have gotten so unravelled in the past playoff games…definitely newsworthy.

      Instead of Dubinsky getting Crosby unravelled, it was Crosby that got Dubinsky unravelled – so much so that he started acting like Subban there for a while – which isn’t him. Dubinsky is a tough sumbich, and one of my favorites, and hopefully he puts himself back together (he played great aside from that – the guy had NINE hits).

      All in all after a game like that I’m not going to complain about what the announcers are saying – who needs ‘em anyway. I’ve listened to the crap announcers from Boston and Philly enough to know to just block it out.

      • laxman1944 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:55 AM

        Sorry 412 but the announcers as per the norm where prostrated all night at the all mighty Penguin alter the whole freaking game…….come on now.

        Columbus needs to put some bodies on Niskanin (spelling) he was your top blue-liner last night.

        Got the all important game 1 win. Lets see how they respond.

  14. jdlinder11 - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    Penguins were outplayed in every facet except for special teams and goaltending, and thats what won them the game. The defensive play in their zone isn’t the issue, its the puck possession in the neutral zone. The pens turn the puck over in the neutral zone at an astonishing rate, that leads to a lot of quality chances for the opposition because it catches the defense off-guard.

    • bmscalise - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      The Pens looked out of sorts for the first 25-30 mins of the game – too worked up and nervous based on the last few playoffs. And for that stretch, what you said is true.

      But for the rest of the game, once the Pens calmed down, they significantly controlled play, had much better possession, and limited egregious turnovers. They dominated most of the third period. Hopefully now that they have a win under their belt, they’ll just go out and play. And if they do, then the remainder of the games will look more like the last 30 mins than the first 30.

  15. rushledger - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    Props to CBJ for their effort but Bobrosky need to play better on their side, 3-1 lead and he let a fairly bad 5 hole goal in. We all know the usual penguins problems although they got better as the game went on, but that didn’t look like a Vezina level goalie to me for Columbus.

  16. navyeoddavee9 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    atwater: Crosby was average, but he did have an assist

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:55 AM

      Fair enough, but my point does remain the same, there are plenty of great storylines to talk about from this game, no need to force feed 2 minutes of Crosby talk when the focus should have been on the Penguins winning and the players that made that possible. This isn’t a knock on Crosby at all just TSN and how they feel that they have to make him the story even on a night when he’s not.

      • hockey412 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:22 AM

        Perhaps you should start your own blog. We’re all watching a great game and you’re honestly watching to critique the announcers? It’s hockey bro – maybe just pay attention to the game.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Hockey412: I understand what you’re saying but I didn’t have the chance to watch the game, only the highlights which is why I would have appreciated better coverage of it. If I had been able to see the game perhaps I would have been able to see them discussing everything, but I didn’t and their analysis was exactly what I had previously mentioned, there were 37 other players in that game (39 if you include backup goalies) surely some of them did something to warrant discussion of?

  17. pdmjr - Apr 17, 2014 at 6:22 AM

    Pens top four defensemen have to be much better, Fleury and all of the forwards played well.

  18. toiletclown - Apr 17, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    And it starts! SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    • toiletclown - Apr 17, 2014 at 6:37 AM

      http://www.nhlpens.com/the-shhhh-of-death/

    • laxman1944 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      FLUSHHHHHHHHHHHH

    • laxman1944 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:57 AM

      And we……..FLUSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    • sully7184 - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      I’m still mad at Carcillo for engaging Talbot and giving the Pens life in that game. F-in Car-bomb….

  19. kastout11 - Apr 17, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    The Penguins looked very pedestrian last night. They will need a lot more from their stars if they want to advance past Philly/NY. Yes Malkin has 2 assists, but their goalscorers were Bennett, Sutter, Niskanen and Jokinen. You cannot count on those guys consistently scoring. Neal and Kunitz were nonexistent, and they need to do a better job. Although, the Penguins had a tough time with Columbus and their physicality.

    • hockey412 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      I disagree with pretty much every word. Bylsma shook up the lines in order to spread the scoring – point being ‘ok put your shutdowns out against Crosby and Malkin, I’m spreading the talent’. So yes, they can count on those guys – and the guys your mentioned are goal-scorers anyway. The Pens did a GREAT job of matching the physical play of the Jackets. The didn’t have the number of hits, but hits don’t count when calculating wins and losses. Neal and Kunitz didn’t have their greatest games, but they weren’t horrible either…it’s a ‘team’ sport, and the ‘team’ won.

      I LOVE how people act like the Pens winning isn’t enough…they have to win 10 to 0. with 100 hits, and winning 100% of the face-offs….nice thought, but here in the real world, they played a great game, against a good team that was playing great.

      • gsr1191 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        completely agree with you hockey412. why am i reading so many complaints from pens fans? we WON THE GAME. My buddies and I actually are happy we had a tough time in this game. last year we went out and wiped the floor with isles in game 1 and took them way to lightly in the 2nd game. I feel like once CBJ scored their 3rd goal the pens woke up and owned play the rest of the way. and yes our D was shaky early on, but once they got the lead, they played great in the last 12 minutes of that game. most of their shots were from the outside and fleury had a clear view of all of them.

  20. penvik - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Crosby raised his game last night, made a ton of plays and was great on offense and defense. Of course TSN/ESPN would focus on him, duh?? Fleury also played great, was hung out a couple times but held strong to secure the win. Still love coming on PST after a Penguins win, some of you guys are hilarious and it’s quite telling how jealous you are. Comments like Penguins = girl power is awesome. Got to come from a Philly fan or maybe a Boston fan. Nevertheless, the jealousy puts a smile on my face every time.

    Penguins are way over analyzed. If the refs call the game the way it should be called the Pens will be fine.

  21. footballfan - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    I watched most of the game last night and thought it was very entertaining. I understand that everyone thinks the Pens should walk away with this series, but please remember, both teams made the playoffs. Its a really small difference between the top and bottom once the playoffs start. In my opinion, the bottom teams are the worst ones to play. They have nothing to lose and can let it all hang out there.

  22. jaturso - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Really entertaining game to watch last night. Pretty typical CBJ loss, though. A noticeable drop in intensity about halfway through the second period and a lack of cohesiveness and follow-thru on offense for most of the third. If they can keep up the intensity for 60 minutes of hockey, they’ve got a punchers chance.

    • hockey412 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      I wonder if they can keep up with their own physical style of play…those boys hit hard.

    • uhokjoe - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Yeah, those boys have to remember that play lasts longer than 40 minutes. Also… dont give up penalties to one of the leading teams in power plays.

  23. mackattack29 - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    I gotta say. If columbus keeps putting the body to the pens like they did in this game. It WILL wear them down.. I mean jeez every single hit columbus threw knocked someone down or into the boards really hard. They looked likealike a bigger tteam than boston and LA combined… I’m impressed so far.

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