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Blue Jackets gain first-ever playoff win, tie series with Penguins 1-1

Apr 19, 2014, 10:54 PM EDT

The Columbus Blue Jackets accomplished a lot of playoff firsts, but the most important came when Matt Calvert scored his second goal of Game 2. His overtime-winner early in the second OT gave Columbus a 4-3 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, tying the series at 1-1.

The Penguins seemed like they were going to run away with the game on Saturday after taking a 3-1 first period lead and enjoying a 15-4 shot disparity, but Columbus showed its rat-like resiliency to come back. The Blue Jackets generated a 27-15 shot advantage in the second and third periods to send the game to OT, feeding into their scrappy reputation while bringing Pittsburgh’s focus into at least some question.

There’s something oddly fitting about Calvert’s game-winner coming pretty soon after the Blue Jackets killed a Penguins power play. In a way, it was the moment that one team finally scored a big goal at even strength.

Special indeed

As much as the Blue Jackets spoke about making things come down to 5-on-5 play, both games have revolved around special teams work. That was especially true in Game 2.

Before that overtime tally, only one goal (Brian Gibbons‘ first of two tallies) came at even strength. Only two of the Blue Jackets’ seven goals have come at even strength while three of Pittsburgh’s seven tallies were outside of special teams. The Jack Johnson goal that sent Game 2 into OT came on the man advantage, for instance:

In other words, both teams have been living and dying by the power play.

Stars factor in

source: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Through one period, it seemed like Sergei Bobrovsky‘s naysayers might be emboldened as he allowed three goals on 15 shots.

The 2013 Vezina Trophy winner really turned things around after that, however, stopping a game’s worth of Penguins scoring attempts (being that the contest went into a second overtime and he didn’t allow a goal since the first period). Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 41 out of 45 shots and often kept the Penguins in the game, although some will still place a lot of blame on Fleury.

As far as the Penguins’ star players go, Sidney Crosby had two assists but Evgeni Malkin couldn’t get on the board despite five shots on goal. While Calvert will garner his fair share of praise, this series might really be a moment for Ryan Johansen to gain some more mainstream attention; the rising star had a goal and an assist in Game 2.

***

Ultimately, the Blue Jackets can stop rolling their eyes at most “first” stats and focus on a more legitimate one: their first-ever playoff series win. From Pittsburgh’s perspective, there might be a feeling of deja vu; they saw the upstart New York Islanders tie their first-round series after their long absence from playoff play last year.

  1. buckeye044 - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    WOOT!! 1 down 15 to go.

  2. mangoman1966 - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    When you have three of the best scorers in the league and they don’t score then its a problem. Think the window of opportunity for us winning another cup is closing fast.

    • c9castine - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      are they all supposed to have 82 goals a season?

      • lowenni - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        I wouldn’t say the window of opportunity is closing, just not sure how open it is right now. @c9castine, you misinterpreted his comment, and mangoman is right. Much like the Bruins series last year the Pens need Crosby, Malkin, and Neal to score. They don’t have tremendous depth on the 3rd and 4th lines, and while they do make up for that with Crosby alone, if Crosby gets shut down, Malkin needs to step up, but he hasn’t. And vice versa. They have to be difference makers in this series, that’s their reputation and that’s the type of players they are. Potential Conn Smythe winners cannot be nonfactors in a series that they’re favorites for.

      • c9castine - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:31 PM

        i think you missed my point. your talking about 2 guys who score well over a point per game in the playoffs. but they arent going to score every game. im not even looking at james neal. the two of them still have 5 points. crosby’s line produced 2 goals in the game.

        this guy is up here freakin out because we lost a game in double OT and the series is now tied 1-1. this series is nothing like the boston series. we score twice the amount of goals in game 1 that we did all series last year. and won the game. that completely wastes the comparison.

      • lowenni - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:43 PM

        Fair enough, I wasn’t saying they weren’t performing well, I think Crosby has done quite well. I would say Malkin and Neal have been a little disappointing though. That being said this is a Pens team that should be able to outplay an inexperienced Jackets team, although the Jackets are playing very hard. Crosby or Malkin or Neal needs to step up and put the game away, not let it slip away in 2OT. A point per game is not enough for Crosby, for him to be considered one of the greats he needs to BE great, not just above average. Torrid playoff runs are what make hockey history.

    • chanceoffleury - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:17 AM

      It’s just one game. Honestly, tightening up their defense could have saved the game tonight. And I view that as a much bigger concern for the later rounds if they get past this one. They’re getting secondary scoring right now and then letting it go to waste by not playing defense. They should be able to win a game with 3 goals. Plain and simple. I mean, yes, Crosby and Malkin should be scoring. But even if Crosby, Malkin, and Neal scored the 3 goals tonight, if they still played the same defense they did they still would have lost.

      Their issue last year was secondary scoring. Columbus had lost 6 straight games to the Pens this year. They were due to win one. I know personally I had Columbus winning a few games in this series. I figured they’d come out with a lot of adrenaline and drive. I wouldn’t be surprised if they won Monday or Wednesday, too. Nationwide is gonna be rockin, I’m sure. I’m still confident the Pens can rise up and win the series convincingly, though.

    • elmerbrownelmerbrown - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:37 AM

      Could not keep my eyes open last night figured the best roster ever assembled would hold the one goal lead and go up in the series 2 zip but then this beautiful news made my morning !

      • 19inarow - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:04 PM

        Best roster ever assembled??? I’m assuming you’re about twelve years old, then.

  3. bilbono - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    What is this new emotion I’m experiencing? A playoff… win?

    Hard fought game, definitely the most entertaining playoff game in Blue Jackets history.Way to go.

  4. c9castine - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    congratulations to the blue jackets. would have preferred it to be game 4 but obviously they were going to get their first ever playoff win in this series.

    for all of those penguins fans who will be here throwing in the towel like mangoman1966…get lost. stop following the team.

    on to the next one.

    • imgoingtowichita - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      I’m afraid C9’s issues are deeper than we expected … To be continued.

      • c9castine - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:33 PM

        go ahead smart guy.

      • mangoman1966 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:48 PM

        A glass of warm milk and a good night sleep and c9 will be fine.

    • mangoman1966 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:36 PM

      I’ve been following this team thru thick and thin. Bad ownerships and bad team. Not giving up but don’t you see a pattern here just like last year and the year before. Fast start then scramble the rest of the game making the same mistakes. Watching the defense stand around while the opponents score or watch fleury make save after save then let in a soft goal. Are you seeing this

      • c9castine - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        like i said i see no comparison. defensive break downs are almost always the cause of goals…simple logic. fleury didnt make save after save last year he played like 2.5 games. we didnt get off to a fast start in game 1 quite the opposite and did the same thing to them that they did to us tonight

        im not saying im fine with what happened tonight, but i think your being unreasonable in your assessment.

      • c9castine - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:03 AM

        ill be sure to ask you of your opinions if we win the next game im sure theyll be the exact same…

  5. jrs45 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    That is one heck of a scrappy team! Wow! They were down to two defenseman!

    • maalea - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      They were only down Feder Tutin. They had 5 Dmen, unless one was in the box.

  6. billiam55 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    CONGRATS BLUE JACKET RANGERS ON YOUR FIRST PLAYOFF WIN!!! KEEP IT UP

    • broadstreetsbaddest88 - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:28 AM

      Don’t go tryin to put that title on them. They created their own success without any help from the rangers. They appreciated an utilized Dubinsky an Anisimov better then the rangers were able to. You can thank management an coaching an hardwork for their success

      • billiam55 - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        …………cryers blow

  7. 19to77 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    I’m not even a Jackets fan. But you know what? HELL YEAH! Great job, boys! Enjoy it, Jackets fans. You’ve been waiting way too long. Great team, great win. Now bring ‘em down.

  8. lowenni - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    Blue Jackets could do this. They look like they’re still figuring playoff hockey out somewhat, but the team is built for this. Not saying they will, but they could pull off an upset. At the least the Pens have looked very unconvincing as a top Cup contender.

    • 19to77 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:29 PM

      What these early playoff games have taught us is that, while the Jackets or Avalanche probably aren’t winning the Cup this year, both have taken huge steps toward legit contender status this year and the future is very, very bright. Both teams will be great to watch in years to come, and I absolutely love it.

      • lowenni - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:47 PM

        Totally agree. I’m a Caps fan but it makes me really happy to see the Avs return to the success they had earlier in the 2000s, and see a great fanbase rewarded for years of patience during mediocrity after greatness. With the forward corps they have they could have runs just like the Sakic-era Avs did, who knows.

        And it’s great for hockey for the Jackets to finally be truly competitive, and I hope the sport grows in the area as I’ve been seeing it doing. Their games are starting to fill up and I bet Game 3 back in Columbus will be great. Glad to see the sport growing and these two teams having success.

  9. pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    They came to play in the first but after that they disappeared. Sid, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz are all invisible. Can’t fault Fleury for any of this, he’s played find. Scuds blows and Bortuzzo should play over him. Our powerplay has lost it’s swagger and they have given up way too many shorthandef chances to the Jackets on it. Who knows maybe a 5th straight flameout may actually send a message! Cause as of now the Pens are the NHLs version of the 1990s Atlanta Braves. Great talent and tons of regular season successful but only one championship. Not happy am I one bit!

    • imgoingtowichita - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      90’s Braves. That’s harsh!

      • pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:32 PM

        Harsh but reality. Pens have zero excuse to not have been in another cup let alone win.

  10. penguins87and71 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Got to give credit to the BlueJackets, except for the 1st period the Jackets totally outplayed the Penguins. It was just an unacceptable game from the Penguins. When your power play goes 1 for 8 your going to lose, when you give up 2 PP goals and give up a short handed goal your going to lose, when Kunitz, Crosby, Malkin, Neal, and Letang don’t score your going to lose. Malkin and Crosby haven’t scored in 6 playoff games. The only two bright spots in this game were Gibbons and Fleury, wouldn’t surprise me if Pens lose in 1st round the way their playing.

  11. maalea - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    I wonder how Shero feels about LeTang’s $7.25 M cap hit next year? Jesus, that contract looks like a giant sinkhole for needed cap space.

    • mangoman1966 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:52 PM

      That cap hit is gonna kill us for sure. May be big changes if we go out in the first or second round. On the ice and way beyond

  12. mangoman1966 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    I was going to reply lowenni but you stated it perfectly. Maybe a goal from one of the top 3 would have helped.

  13. artn4gkr - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    Pens played lousy – starting to think Jackets in 5

  14. drewzducks - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:06 AM

    Major props to CBJ for a total TEAM effort. However, with that being said, Letang had to be one of the most valuable Jackets on the ice tonight. Senseless turnover after turnover and then a front row seat with his Koho in his hands for the OT winner. Priceless ( or 7.25M).

  15. sabatimus - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    What? Where’s graymalkin to call me names? Too busy getting banned?

  16. johnnyd76 - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    Congrats CBJ – I hate to say (write) this but you deserved the win. A couple of things frustrate me about the PENS in this game. First, when Gibbons did not return from his injury there was a noticeable difference in the PENS performance. They appeared much slower than CBJ and struggled to enter, then sustain the offensive zone. Further, their poor puck handling and inopportune turnovers gave life to a dejected CBJ. Finally, I can not understand why they sit back on a lead instead of maintaining the game plan that got them the lead. I think the PENS will still take this series, but if they continue this type of performance in the next round they will be gone in 4.

  17. muckleflugga - Apr 20, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    penguins have let the genie out of the bottle

    jackets have discovered they belong and young players with that kind of heart are tough to bring to hand

    should jackets carry this energy into the next game producing the same result, penguins can say bye bye … it’s all in the eyes …

    jackets have it and penguins don’t

    fire

  18. broadstreetbeatdown - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:25 AM

    Dubinsky owns Crosby and Jack Johnson is a beast. Great game/win by the Jackets.

  19. arbruins - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:05 AM

    CBJ is a good team, can’t beat them when you are diving all the time.

    • 6superbowls - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:11 AM

      Maybe we should poke’m in the nuts like the big bad tough-guy Bruins?

      • evgenishrek - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        You win 6 super bowls? You must be good? Did not refs help you with 6th one?

  20. broadstreetsbaddest88 - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:32 AM

    Ryan johansen is damn good. He’s lookin more an more like a star each game this year. Has a hell of a shot. Columbus is lucky to have a player like him. Looks like they found their Rick Nash replacement.

  21. terrier92 - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Poor defensive coverage by Jokinen on OT winner. Very slow to react to Calvert. Goodness guy could have had three wack say puck. Not goalies fault at all. Tough to stop third rebound.

  22. ironyisadeadscene - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Still 15 games to go!!

  23. hockeyfan763 - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Not a fan of either team but thoroughly enjoyed watching this game. Blue Jackets out worked the Pens after the first period. Good young core there and solid goalie. Team is on the rise for sure.

  24. jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    He crazy Pens fan who keeps bringing up a victory parade: SHUT UP!

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      He = Hey

  25. 19inarow - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Go Blue Jackets! Put an end to the Pittsburgh Princesses’ season.

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