The Pittsburgh Penguins held serve and beat the Jackets 4-1 in Game Two Friday night. With the win, the Penguins bring a two-game series lead with them when they come to Columbus for Games Three and Four.
If you were following the storylines from Game One, they just ratcheted up a notch on Friday. The Jackets continued to play physically, outhitting the Penguins 51-30. The Jackets out-attempted Pittsburgh in all situations (79-55) and in 5-on-5 play (60-48). Meanwhile, the Penguins continued to foil those attempts by blocking them - they kept 23 Jackets attempts from getting to the net.
As the Jackets keep chipping away, they are still trying to get more pucks in the net. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury allowed only one past him and stopped 39 of the 40 shots he saw.
The Blue Jackets had Marc-Andre Fleury under siege from the opening whistle for the second game in a row. The visiting team kept the Penguins from notching a single shot on goal until 8:31 into the first period, but that first shot went in the net.
Sergei Bobrovsky played the puck in the trapezoid and was still regaining his position when Conor Sheary gained possession and Jake Guentzel then delivered the puck to Sidney Crosby who gave Pittsburgh the 1-0 lead.
Video: Bob looks forward to playing at home next
In the second, Brandon Saad, a player John Tortorella said he needed more from less than 48 hours ago, carried the puck through the neutral zone before pulling up at the left dot and snapping a shot past Fleury to even the score.
It was Saad's first postseason goal as a Jacket and the 16th of his career.
But the Penguins didn't stand for that long. 51 seconds later, Crosby and Guentzel got behind the Jackets with only Gabriel Carlsson between them and the net. Crosby fed Guentzel who beat Bobrovsky to regain the lead and set the score at 2-1.
The Penguins started the final period on the power play after Brandon Dubinsky was called for roughing, and while they didn't convert with the man advantage, Crosby earned his third point of the night (1-2-3) when he set up Evgeni Malkin to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead.
In a game marked by higher emotions and more post-whistle scrums than Game One, the Penguins added an empty net goal late to make the final score 4-1.
"I thought we did a lot of the things we wanted to do," Tortorella said. "We had 79 shot attempts, I'm proud of our club. The way they've handled themselves. The way they did all the things we've asked them to do. We'll see the players tomorrow (at practice), lick our wounds and get ready to face off again."
Video: Torts' take on tonight's Game 2 defeat in PIT
Here's what we learned.
Even more shots. Even more quality shots.
The challenge the Jackets laid out for themselves after Game One was not just to control the shot battle, but to control the type of shots they took. The team wanted to get more attempts in the blue and find a way to jump on more rebounds.
According to naturalstattrick.com, the Jackets didn't just increase the number of attempts they took in 5-on-5 play Friday, having increased their attempt volume from 48 in Game One to 60 in Game Two, the number of high-danger attempts they took tripled moving from just three on Wednesday to nine Friday night.
"We had really good chances in both games," Zach Werenski said. "Tonight we had some 'Grade A's.' Fleury is standing tall back there for them so we have to find a way to get some past him. We improved quite a lot (getting pucks to the blue)."
Brandon Saad was benched for the majority of the third period in Game One after not performing at the level Tortorella thought he needed to be at. Saad responded in Game Two. The forward had three shots on goal, was +8 in shot attempts for, and provided the Jackets lone score that came off an impressive effort by the 23-year-old.
"Their line was good," Tortorella said. "Saad was skating. He was a big part of us tonight, and he needs to be as we move forward here."
Don't get frustrated.
It's hard to imagine how you respond when you play the way you believe you should and can't get the results you want. While the Jackets know they are in a hole heading back to home ice for Game Three, the team is not willing to let themselves get frustrated.
"We played a good game, but we have to find a way to get it done," Brandon Dubinsky said. "We need to find a way to be that much better to get a win. We did a lot of good things, we just didn't get the result. We have to continue to believe in the process.
Video: Dubi on the series shifting to Columbus
"We've got to stay with it and keep our confidence. We came in here and played two pretty good hockey games and we're down two games. We know there are no participation awards given out. We know almost isn't good enough. But at the same time we have to stick to the game plan. We played the game we wanted to, we executed the game plan, we've just got to find a way to find one."