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Game #74 Recap: Jackets take down Penguins in shootouts

Mar 30, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Mathieu Olivier (24) celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Following a loss in Pittsburgh, the Jackets once again faced the Penguins, this time in Columbus. Before the game, Jeff Rimer was honored in a touching on-ice ceremony. Throughout the game, tribute videos featuring Michael Buble, Bob Costas, Wayne Gretzy, Cal Ripken Jr., and others were shown both in the arena and on the broadcast.

1st Period

Both teams were able to generate offensive pressure early on.

Voronkov went to the box for hooking to give the Penguins their first power play. But it was the Blue Jackets that got on the board first. Olivier and Sillinger went on a two-on-one, and a Sillinger shot was saved. Then Nedeljkovic lost the puck, and Olivier was able to gather it and put it in the empty net. That was his second goal in as many games.

CBJ SH Goal 1-0: Olivier (Sillinger) 7:47

The Penguins challenged for goaltender interference, but honestly, it was an odd challenge. The goal was ruled to be good, and the power play was wiped off.

Reilly Smith high-sticked Olivier to give the Blue Jackets a power play. The first unit moved well and had several good chances, but they were unable to make them count.

The Jackets played well in the first period but still allowed too many high-quality Penguin shots. Fortunately, Elvis proved to be up to the task, saving four high-danger chances, including two breakaways. 5v5 xGF favored the Penguins 1.05-0.27.

2nd Period

Marchenko drew a tripping penalty to give the Jackets their second power play. Not much going that time – the first unit had some trouble getting into the offensive zone.

Butler finally got his first shift of the game halfway through the first period. He saw an offensive zone draw and 54 seconds of ice time.

Gaudreau and Nylander had a two-on-one breakaway. Gaudreau chose to shoot the puck and ended up sending it wide.

The Penguins tied it up when O’Connor scored off a one-timer. The Columbus defense completely lost track of a clearing flip, and Eller ended up with the puck. The result was Pittsburgh possession and a goal.

PIT Goal 1-1: O’Connor (Rust, Pettersson) 13:29

Crosby was penalized for tripping shortly after the goal. He complained to the official even though it was a blatant trip. Once again, the first unit had several good chances and zero goals.

There was an audible “Let’s go Penguins” chant during the Columbus power play. Embarrassing.

Rust scored with one minute left in the period. A set play off a faceoff ended with a cross-ice pass from Crosby. Elvis had no chance.

PIT Goal 2-1: Rust (Crosby, Letang) 18:55

The Blue Jackets dominated possession in the second period. So naturally, they got outscored 2-0. The first line and Jake Bean were on the ice for both goals against.

3rd Period

Early in the period, the puck trickled past Elvis after a scramble in front of the net. Elvis had the awareness to fall down backward directly on the puck. Voronkov earned a defensive assist by poking his stick under Elvis to keep the puck from sliding further towards the goal line.

Sillinger was sent to the box for slashing at the five-minute mark. In a battle for the puck, he was trying to swat O’Connor’s stick away and inadvertently broke the Penguin stick. The Jackets killed it off with the help of Elvis, who made four saves.

The Penguins took a 3-1 lead when Rakell scored following a bad turnover by Bean. He then walked around both Gudbranson and Bean before beating Elvis. Elvis was visibly upset and was yelling at, presumably, Bean from the crease.

PIT Goal 3-1: Rakell (Malkin) 8:59

Seconds later, Marchenko returned it to a one-goal game. He undressed Letang on the rush and then beat Nedeljkovic top cheese.

CBJ Goal 3-2: Marchenko (Severson, Werenski) 9:08

The Blue Jackets’ best player, Zach Werenski, then tied the game. He got a pass from Gaudreau, walked around the Penguin defender, and beat Nedeljkovic for the game-tying goal.

CBJ Goal 3-3: Werenski (Gaudreau) 11:47

Nylander had a partial breakaway with three seconds left, but Karlsson was able to knock Nylander off balance. You could argue a hooking penalty, but there was no call.


Vincent started overtime with Werenski, Gaudreau, and Sillinger. After the faceoff, Sillinger immediately went off for Nylander.

Sillinger sprang Gaudreau for a breakaway with about 90 seconds left. Nedeljkovic made a great kick save to keep the game going.

The Jackets controlled most of the overtime, but shootouts are how the game would end.


Gaudreau denied.
Rakell denied.
Texier scored. No fire poker – clean snapper blocker side.
Crosby scored.
Marchenko missed the net.
Rust post.
Nylander lost the puck.
Letang denied.
Severson scores backhand.
Malkin denied.

Jackets win!

Final Thoughts

After rushing to Columbus and barely making it before the puck drop, Butler played a whopping 1 shift for 54 seconds. Why bother with the call-up and getting a player excited for their first NHL game if the coach wasn’t even going to play them? A new GM can’t come soon enough.

Jake Bean once again proved that he should not be on this team next season. He was on the ice for all three goals against and screwed up not once but twice on the Penguins third goal. He was awful in this game.

Zack Werenski was once again the best Columbus player. Given the choice between him, Letang, and Karlsson tonight, Z would have been the right choice. It’s frustrating that this team has wasted four seasons of him.

Cole Sillinger once again looked good against Crosby or Malkin. The top two lines played well overall in Jenner’s absence.

It’s always great to beat the Penguins.

Up Next

The Avalanche come to town Monday night. The puck drops at 7:00 PM ET.