Pittsburgh Penguins Fall to Columbus 5-3 in Second Straight Loss


The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to stumble without their stars as the Pens, short Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 5-3.

Once again, the Pens started off strong as captain Sidney Crosby scored his 27th goal of the season just eight minutes into the game.

The tally came off a quick play in front of the net as defenseman Ian Cole wired a pass to Patric Hornqvist beside the Blue Jackets’ net. Hornqvist one-touched a pass up to Crosby in the slot, before the captain snapped it into the cage.

While the Pens had the edge in the first period in terms of goals (1-0) and shots (15-12), the second period was a much more even affair.

Pittsburgh pulled ahead early after an exceptional play from Brandon Sutter. The young centreman streaked into Columbus’ zone, showcasing his stickhandling skill to get past one defender. Eventually pinned up against the left wall, Sutter dished to Cole who pinched in from the blue line. Cole put the puck back on Sutter’s stick, allowing him to wire in his 18th goal of the year.

Pittsburgh got some help on the play as Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson planted himself in his own crease, preventing netminder Sergei Bobrovsky from sliding across to make the stop.

The goal makes 2014-15 the second best season of Sutter’s career offensively – the best since his second year in the league wherein he potted 21 goals.

Things quickly went downhill after that, however.

Columbus evened things up with goals from Nick Foligno and Matt Calvert, taking the score to 2-2 at the end of the second period.

One problem persisted throughout the game – the lacklustre play of young Pens defenseman Derrick Pouliot.

After Columbus tallied their first of the game (following a terrible turnover by David Perron), Pouliot came up short on the Blue Jackets’ second goal, missing numerous opportunities to shut down plays as Columbus swept passes across the Pens’ zone.

Heading into the third period tied 2-2, Pouliot erred again, attempting a move at his own blue line that failed and turned the puck over to Foligno once again. Columbus got out to a quick lead as Foligno tallied his second of the game.

Minutes later, the Pens’ collapse was sealed with a terrible play at the team’s goal-line. After netminder Marc-Andre Fleury made a stop, the puck floated out a foot away from the side of the cage. Sidney Crosby swept the puck under Fleury’s elbow in an attempt to get the puck to a place wherein it could be safely covered.

However, the puck slid past Fleury’s arm and off his pad, finding its way into the back of the net. Crosby and Fleury both expressed frustration after the play as Columbus took a two-goal lead into the final ten minutes of the game.

Defenseman Ben Lovejoy talled a goal soon after to cut the lead to one, but as Pittsburgh pulled their goalie for the extra attacker in the final minutes, Pouliot’s failure to keep the puck in Columbus’ zone allowed Foligno to tally an empty-netter for the first hat trick of his career.

The 5-3 loss is Pittsburgh’s second in four days, as they were just trounced by Philadelphia on April 1st.

They’ll have another crack at the Flyers tomorrow, and with Malkin nearly ready to return to the lineup, that team could see enough of an offensive boost to get them back in the win column.

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