Pittsburgh Penguins Topped by Columbus in Shootout


In their second game without Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins dropped their second contest of the last three when they were beaten by Columbus 4-3 via shootout.

The Pens did all they could on the offensive side, peppering Blue Jackets tender Sergei Bobrovsky with 36 shots while Pittsburgh’s Thomas Greiss faced only 27.

Columbus’ Nick Foligno opened the scoring three minutes into the contest, battling in front of the Pens’ net on Columbus’ first powerplay of the game.

Pittsburgh fought back in the second period as Blake Comeau continued his tour of scoring against his former clubs – tallying his 10th of the season and second in as many games.

Recent addition Rob Klinkhammer recorded an assist on the play, marking his second point in as many nights as well after being promoted to the first line alongside Comeau and Evgeni Malkin.

The Penguins suited up four new line combinations against the Blue Jackets after sending forward Jayson Megna down to the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and recalling forwards Bryan Rust and Bobby Farnham.

Rust and Farnham made their NHL debuts in the Pens’ bottom-six (Farnham skated alongside Marcel Goc and Steve Downie, while Rust played with Andrew Ebbett and Craig Adams). The two rookies combined for 9 penalty minutes while failing to record a point.

Brandon Sutter took over second-line duties, skating with Crosby’s recent pair of wingers – Nick Spaling and Patric Hornqvist.

The third period saw the game ramp up offensively as both clubs tallied two goals apiece. Pens defenseman Kris Letang continued to make his presence known in a big way since returning from injury.

Letang, a former Norris trophy nominee, opened the period’s scoring with a shorthanded marker seven minutes in. Craig Adams spurred the chance with a beautiful veteran play at the Pens’ blue line – poking the puck free from Columbus’ point-man to create a two-on-one opportunity.

After showcasing some veteran patience, Adams slipped the puck to Letang who pulled a nifty move past Bobrovsky and roofed the puck off his backhand. The goal gave Pittsburgh the lead with over half the third period to go.

Columbus wouldn’t go down easy though. The Blue Jackets’ Boone Jenner tied the game five minutes later after he was awarded a penalty shot. Jack Johnson would give the Jackets the lead with a goal of his own as the game neared the final two minutes.

With the clock winding down to ten seconds remaining, Letang stepped up once again. Pittsburgh worked a cycle in the Jackets’ zone with Greiss pulled, allowing Christian Ehrhoff and Malkin to feed Letang for a one-timer blast from the point. The marker gave Letang his third point in only his second game back from injury, and took the game to overtime.

Despite outshooting Columbus 6-2 in the extra frame, Pittsburgh was unable to find their fourth of the game, allowing the contest to move to a shootout.

While Letang made good on his attempt, it was not enough to earn the ‘W’ as Malkin and Sutter were stopped, while Columbus’ Cam Atkinson and Ryan Johansen both scored for the Blue Jackets.

The loss will certainly sting after Pittsburgh’s efforts to battle back, but the club should hopefully get reinforcements soon enough as Crosby could return for their next game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.