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Blue Jackets Fall, Yet Again, to Penguins

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Columbus still hasn’t figured out how to beat the Penguins; fall 5-2.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

It was a statement game for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The front office already made theirs with the deadline acquisitions of Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel over the weekend. With rival opponent, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in town Tuesday night, a team Columbus has failed to solve in nearly two years, going 0-3-3 in the six meetings since Game 4 of the 2017 Quarterfinals, the not a rivalry took to the latest chapter.

A game featuring a bit of everything, including goals, hits, and a lotta snarl, the two combatants left it all on the ice. Pittsburgh got two first period goals, including two from Jared McCann on the night, and Matt Murray made 21 saves as the Penguins defeated the Blue Jackets 5-2 at Nationwide Arena.

The Penguins got on the board first, when Sidney Crosby, from the corner, found Jake Guentzel gliding into the slot. Guentzel entered action with 10 points (six goals, four assists) in eight career games against the Blue Jackets. (That doesn't even include the six points he has scored against them in one playoff round.)

Not long after, the Blue Jackets had what would have been the tying score, and Seth Jones’ first goal in 22 games. However, the play was challenged by Mike Sullivan for goaltender interference and the goal was overturned.

After Pittsburgh’s first power play which yielded zero shots on net, the Penguins struck again, with McCann getting his first of the evening.

New Blue Jacket Adam McQuaid got acquainted with Bryan Rust into the boards towards the end of the first period. Both would feel the effects of the McQuaid’s bruising hit, with Rust getting helped off the ice, putting little if any weight on his left foot. He did not return. McQuaid ended up head-first into the board but was okay.

Early on into the second period, the Penguins added to their lead with a strike from Evgeni Malkin from just inside the blue line.

With Columbus about to get their first power play opportunity just under three minutes in, Oliver Bjorkstrand broke the streak of Pittsburgh goals with his 12th on the delayed penalty. Ryan Dzingel picked up his first point as a Blue Jacket with the assist.

Not long after that goal, and this time on the power play, Cam Atkinson tied his career-high in goals with his 35th of the season to reel the Jackets within one.

With time on the power play to begin the third period, Nick Foligno had a shot hit the post, and then an Artemi Panarin takeaway inside the offensive zone, and essentially a 3-on-0 for Columbus with only Murray there to stop it, did just that, as the Jackets couldn’t find the equalizer.

Our thoughts exactly.

The back-breaker came on McCann’s second goal of the night, 13th of the season, with just over 6:30 to play, when this shot just trickles past Bobrovsky. Who, again, fails to keep the Penguins in check.

The Penguins win 5-2 on Sidney Crosby’s empty-net goal, leapfrogging Columbus in the standings, as Columbus falls to outside the playoff picture.

Former Blue Jacket Jack Johnson was given a video tribute during the first period. It was Ohio State Night at Nationwide Arena, which was an appropriate greeting for the former Buckeye, Dzingel. The top line of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson was reunited mid-game, and Matt Duchene was rejoined with Ryan Dzingel and Oliver Bjorkstrand.