Game #81 Recap: Blue Jackets finally beat Penguins, move out of last place
The result is likely causing conflicting emotions in many fans.
The non-playoff Pittsburgh Penguins came to Nationwide to take on the last place Blue Jackets. The game was not meaningless, however, because a last place finish and the best chance at winning the draft lottery was still on the line for the home team.
Four Blue Jackets made their NHL debuts - Pyyhtia, Svozil, Angle, and Knazko.
Spoiler alert, the game did not go well for the tank fans. The kids played well, so there was that.
Svozil earned his first NHL penalty early in the period. A rookie mistake, but it came after a couple of good shifts before that. The Penguins took advantage by quickly scoring on the power play. A deflection in front of the net got past Hutchinson.
PIT PP Goal 1-0: Letang (Crosby, Rakell) 4:28
The rest of the period was very uneventful as the Penguins controlled the puck for most of it. The puck ended up behind Hutchinson with a few seconds remaining, but the goal was waved off because Pettersson was quite literally laying on top of the Columbus goalie.
The best scoring chances for the Blue Jackets came from Pyyhtia, who barely missed with a wrister, and Gaudreau.
The Jackets tied the game up when McKown won a faceoff back to Peeke, who rifled one past Jarry.
CBJ Goal 1-1: Peeke (McKown) 2:12
The home team continue to push after the goal and went to the power play after Carter hooked Bemstrom on the doorstep. The Penguins killed off the penalty.
The Blue Jackets dominated stretches of the second period. They managed to even the game up in both CF% and xGF. Honestly, it's crazy they didn't manage to score a second goal.
Pyyhtia went to the box for tripping to send the Penguins back to the power play. The white sweaters scored their second power play goal of the night as a result.
PIT PP Goal 2-1: Guentzel (Letang, Crosby) 3:53
The Jackets got another power play opportunity after they somehow managed to not score with a wide open net. They were once again blanked on the man advantage.
The Penguins seemed intent on getting the Jackets another goal. Granlund went off for holding to give the Jackets another power play. Zero goals again, however.
Nylander high-sticked McKown to keep the parade going. With five minutes left and trailing by one goal, the Jackets got another power play. This time they converted. Bemstrom got the goal and Pyyhtia and Svozil both got their first NHL points on the play.
CBJ PP Goal 2-2: Bemstrom (Pyyhtia, Svozil) 16:35
After the goal, Hutchinson made an unreal glove save to keep the game even.
Meaningless point secured.
Gaudreau scored. Game over.
Two meaningless points secured.
No, Blue Jackets social media person, it is not.
The Blue Jackets managed to beat the Penguins for the first time in over three years, in a game they needed to lose. Par for the course.
If Chicago and Anaheim both end the night with zero points, the Blue Jackets will secure 30th place. The even worse scenario of a 29th place finish is still on the table too. A complete disaster for a team that had a chance to finish last.
Svozil looked like a legit NHL defenseman. I still wouldn't be surprised to see him on the opening night roster in October.
I won't apologize for being upset about winning this game. Picking outside of the top three in this draft could absolutely be the difference between being a contender in five years and not.
Pray the hockey gods finally show us some mercy.
The Jackets finish off the season against Buffalo tomorrow night.