Matt Murray made 25 saves and the Penguins beat the Blue Jackets 3-0.
Pittsburgh scored the games’ first in the first period, on their first power play, and converting soon after it started, just 18 seconds in. Phil Kessel’s goal broke a 17-game drought, dating back to Jan. 30 against the Lightning. On the scoring play, Joonas Korpisalo was down in the crease after Patric Hornqvist made contact with the goaltender, but nothing to convince the officials to overturn the result on John Tortorella’s challenge. Korpisalo made 28 saves on the night.
Columbus’ power play at the end of the first spilled over into the second but failed to convert. They were 0-for-3 on the PP; Pittsburgh 1-for-5. In the second, Korpisalo made a breakaway save on Evgeni Malkin, shutting him down with the right pad stretch save. That play developed at the other end when David Savard was unable to haul in a pass from Matt Duchene, as Malkin jumped in and was off.
In the third period, Sidney Crosby was the latest Penguin casualty to head for the dressing room after taking a high stick to the face by Boone Jenner off a face-off. Jenner would get the double-minor, and the incident occurred just five seconds after a Nick Foligno penalty. The Jackets managed to kill off the 5-on-3, and double-minor.
Pittsburgh had all the scoring they would need, and Crosby added to his goal streak, now of six, with the empty-net to seal the deal, extending their dominance over Columbus to eight games in the 3-0 victory. The two teams conclude their season series Saturday night at Nationwide Arena.
After blocking a shot in the first period, Garrett Wilson left but returned to the game. Jake Guentzel also left in the second period after blocking a shot but returned without missing a shift. He was instantly checked into the boards upon his return. Zach Trotman blocked Zach Werenski’s shot with his face towards the end of the second period. Trotman returned to the game. Columbus set a season-high with 46 hits; previous high was 41 at the Penguins Nov. 24. Pittsburgh has scored first in a game 40 times this season, tied-for-first in the NHL. The Penguins had no shots on goal during the last 11:45 of the first period. Since their 3-0 win over the Capitals Feb. 12, the Jackets have gone on to allow the games’ first goal eight of the past 12 games. In those games during that span they are 1-7-0. In three games this season, the Penguins have outscored the Blue Jackets 12-4, and 34-17 in the eight-game win streak.