The Blue Jackets lost a 1-0 final in overtime against Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday night.
Game in a Paragraph
Neither team was at its best in a sloppy game filled with turnovers, mistakes and little flow. It was scoreless through 60 minutes, perhaps a testament to the fact the matchup featured two of the best defensive teams in the NHL, before Bryan Rust's overtime goal was the difference.
Video: CBJ Recap: Blue Jackets lose to Penguins in overtime
Quote of the Game
CBJ captain Nick Foligno: "(The Penguins) just worked. They knew they were banged up and they just worked extremely hard. Early on, we did not match that intensity at all. It's unacceptable on our part."
Video: Torts meets with media after loss to Penguins
Joonas Korpisalo played an excellent game, turning aside 31 Pittsburgh shots.
The first period belonged to the goalies, in particular Korpisalo, who made a number of excellent saves in the frame as the Pens had a 12-6 edge in shots on goal. His two best stops came on Teddy Blueger, as Korpisalo flashed his pad to deny the Latvian center on a 3-on-1 on the first shift of the game and then later got an arm on Blueger's rebound chance.
Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry also had to make a great stop in the opening minutes on Oliver Bjorkstrand. With the Penguins caught on a change, Sonny Milano played in Bjorkstrand alone, but after making a deke the CBJ forward ran out of space and could only put the puck into Jarry's outstretched left pad.
There wasn't much action either way in the second period as the game remained scoreless. Korpisalo made another dandy of a save when Dominik Kahun got open on the rush early in the period, but his shot went into the right arm of the CBJ goalie. Columbus' best chance in the second came when the team had a 2-on-1, but Milano was unable to get a shot off as he was tripped by Marcus Pettersson and the Jackets didn't score on the ensuing power play.
Columbus got another golden opportunity four minutes into the third period as Pierre-Luc Dubois steamed past the Pens' defense for a breakaway, but Jarry read his move to the backhand perfectly and made the stop.
Blueger's hat trick of missed opportunities was completed with just under 10 minutes to go as he earned a breakaway, but Korpisalo snuffed him with his right pad to keep it a scoreless game.
From there, it became an overtime contest, and the Penguins won it 3:02 into the extra frame on the power play. Foligno tried to clear the puck but it instead bounced in front to Rust, who lifted the stick of Seth Jones and then backhanded the puck through Korpisalo for the game's lone goal.
1. Well, that certainly wasn't a pretty game by any stretch of the imagination, and CBJ head coach John Tortorella was confounded by the effort put forth by his team, especially after it played one of its best games of the season while beating the NHL's top team in Washington on Monday night. "I don't have any words to describe it," Tortorella repeated three times when asked about the game in his postgame press conference. The Blue Jackets were lethargic through the first 30 minutes before finding a bit of their game, but the team still finished with just 17 shots on goal. "(The pregame plan) was, 'Jump on them,'" Foligno said. "That's why it's surprising the way we came out." Considering where the Jackets are in the standings, it simply wasn't enough against a shorthanded team.
2. The Penguins entered banged up, with Evgeni Malkin ruled out in the hours before the game because of illness. That meant the Penguins were without five regulars in Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Nick Bjugstad, Patric Hornqvist and Brian Dumoulin. With that talent out of the lineup, the Pens played a simple, hard-working, defensive game, and the Blue Jackets felt they didn't do enough to match that either emotionally or strategically. "I think we played into their hands a little bit there with the amount of turnovers we had in the neutral zone," Seth Jones said. "They clogged it up pretty hard in the neutral zone. They weren't coming at us really at all. They were making us play through them, and not every time did we want to chip it in and go get it and try to make something happen down low."
3. If there was one tremendous positive to come from the game, it was the performance of Korpisalo, who has been on a pretty credible run since the start of November. In his last 14 games, he's posted a save percentage of .920 and a goals-against average of 2.29, and he was by far the team's best player on this night in the Steel City. It was unfortunate for him to lose the game the way he did, on a bit of a weird bounce that led to a bang-bang play in front on the winning goal. The team might owe him a steak dinner for his effort in turning aside a few really good chances by the Pens. "I felt good," he said. "I felt pretty comfortable. The boys were helping me with the rebounds there, let me see the puck. Yeah, I felt good."
It was the second time this year the Blue Jackets played in a scoreless game through two periods. The other was the 1-0 win over Ottawa on Nov. 25. … Pittsburgh defenseman Jack Johnson played his 900th career game, 445 of which came with the Blue Jackets from 2012-18. ... Jones played his 300th game as a member of the Blue Jackets. … Columbus played in its 19th one-goal game (9-5-5). … The Blue Jackets moved to 6-1-4 when tied after two periods. ... The Blue Jackets were shut out for the third time this year. ... Columbus remained winless in Pittsburgh since December, 2015. ... Jarry earned his third shutout in four games.
Columbus kept the same lineup as Monday's win vs. Washington, with Emil Bemstrom (injury) and Scott Harrington the scratches.
The Blue Jackets complete their four-game road swing Saturday with a matinee in Ottawa. The puck drops between Columbus and the Senators at 1 p.m.