Jackets beat injury-depleted Pens, 4-1
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:06 AM
The Columbus Blue Jackets
took advantage of the injury-depleted Pittsburgh Penguins
on Tuesday night.
and Jakub Voracek each had a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets cruised past the Pens by a 4-1 score at the Consol Energy Center.
and Antoine Vermette
also scored for Columbus, and Steve Mason
was sensational in net with 32 saves.
The Blue Jackets avenged a 7-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 4, when Sidney Crosby
had two goals for the Penguins.
"I was frustrated after that. That was embarrassing, especially for myself, people watching it back home, and to see our team represented that way," Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger
said. "Tonight, it was in the back of our minds but, more than anything, the two points were first in our mind."
The Penguins added center Chris Kunitz
to an injury list that already includes Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin
(knee). Kunitz, third on the team in goals, has a lower-body injury and is day to day.
No Penguins player in the lineup had more than 10 goals.
spoiled Mason's shutout bid with a power-play goal in the third period to make it 3-1. But by then, it was too late for the decimated Penguins.
Crosby is skating on his own away from the team and has kept in touch with Pittsburgh's trainer. The Penguins clearly won't rush his return, but they sure do miss him.
"I'm not going to play any different just because those two are out and I don't think anybody else should either," Kennedy said.
They lost their second straight game with Crosby and Malkin out. Malkin was lost last week to two torn ligaments in his right knee. The Penguins are faced with the grim possibility of playing without their top two stars the rest of the season.
There was no sympathy from Columbus. The Blue Jackets won their third straight game as they make a late push for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Their offense could be heating up at the right time, as Columbus has scored at least three goals in four straight games.
Nash scored on a one-timer from the right circle for a 1-0 lead in the first. He dropped to one knee to send his 24th goal of the season past Marc-Andre Fleury
, who was tied for second in the NHL with 25 wins.
The Blue Jackets built a 3-0 lead in the second to silence the 195th straight sellout crowd in Pittsburgh.
, a Pittsburgh native, fired a shot off Fleury that Pahlsson knocked in for a 2-0 lead. The goal was reviewed on replay.
"We're in the race now and we're trying to climb in the standings," Pahlsson said. "We need every point we can get now."
Nash assisted on the third goal with a floating pass from the neutral zone that a hustling Voracek chased down and flipped past a diving Fleury to all but wrap up the victory.
Mason was fantastic in net, making glove saves look easy.
Vermette stuck with the puck around the net and knocked in his own rebound late in the third for his 13th goal and a 4-1 lead.
"When you take those two top guys out of the lineup, it's a big loss for them.
But I'm sure they aren't making any excuses over there," Mason said. "They still have to fight through injuries, just like everybody else has to in the league, and they still had a pretty good game tonight."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.