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Bobrovsky, Saad help Blue Jackets defeat Penguins

by Wes Crosby /

PITTSBURGH -- Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves to help the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Friday.

Bobrovsky's shutout bid ended when Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist scored with 57.7 seconds remaining in the third period. He entered with a 3.02 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in 12 career games against Pittsburgh.

Hornqvist got the puck past Bobrovsky again with 13.8 seconds remaining, but the officials ruled after video review that he kicked it into the Blue Jackets net.

"[Bobrovsky] made some big saves," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "There wasn't a lot of chances, but he made some crucial saves. The thing I liked about his game was there wasn't a lot of movement in his game. He just looked confident and he looked solid. It's too bad he doesn't get the shutout, but we'll take the win and go home."

Columbus (5-12-0) avoided a third consecutive loss and has won five of its first 10 games since hiring Tortorella on Oct. 21. Each of the Blue Jackets' five wins has come on the road (5-6-0).

Pittsburgh (10-6-0) split two home games following a four-game Canadian road trip. The Penguins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in a shootout on Wednesday and will travel to play the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

"We didn't execute very well," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "We still had our chances to get back into it. … I think that [Hornqvist non-goal] is a kick, so that's pretty obvious."

After each team got off to a slow start offensively, the Blue Jackets took control with two goals 1:41 apart in the second period.

After Columbus defenseman Cody Goloubef sent a slap shot into the crease, forward Brandon Saad battled with Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang and forward Nick Bonino to gain possession of the puck and put a shot off goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's pads. The scrum impeded Fleury and caused him to lose his stick, while the puck dribbled to forward Scott Hartnell near the right post.

Hartnell sent a wrist shot past a sprawling Fleury and into an open net for a 1-0 Blue Jackets lead with 8:52 remaining in the second period. The goal was Hartnell's eighth of the season, tying him with Boone Jenner for the Columbus lead.

Evgeni Malkin was called for tripping 14 seconds after the Hartnell goal. Saad, a Pittsburgh native, took advantage by backhanding a shot between Penguins defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Rob Scuderi and over Fleury's glove to extend the Blue Jackets lead to 2-0 with 7:11 left in the second.

It was Saad's first goal in five career games against the Penguins.

"Like I said last game against Vancouver, losing like we did at the end and then the last seven minutes were tough," Saad said. "To be able to bounce back, play a good team in a tough building and get a win is good, but we have another one tomorrow, so we have to start preparing."

Pittsburgh's inefficiency continued throughout the second period, particularly on the power play. The Penguins had one shot through the first three of their six failed man-advantage opportunities.

"We didn't get enough pucks to the net, for me," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "You have to have that shooting mentality. Especially [when] you have Hornqvist at the net, you have [Chris] Kunitz at the net. So, we have to make sure that we get pucks to the net and have that desperation."

Columbus captain Nick Foligno said the Blue Jackets made themselves vulnerable by giving the Penguins so many power-play opportunities, but he was impressed with how they responded.

"We really tested ourselves tonight against a really good offense, but I'm proud of the guys," Foligno said. "I mean, that's what happens. When you put yourself in that situation ... you can battle out of it and find a way, and we did.

"It wasn't pretty and we actually made some really good plays on the penalty kill and got some really good opportunities on it. So, you have to address that against a good team, because more times than not they're going to make you pay, but tonight we stuck with it."

Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky did not play because of an upper-body injury. Tortorella did not provide an update after the game and said he should have more information before Columbus hosts the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

Dubinsky's injury allowed defenseman Ryan Murray to enter the lineup after it was previously announced he would be a healthy scratch against the Penguins.

"The past couple games I played weren't anywhere near the level they have to be," Murray said. "The move by the coaching staff was a little surprising to me. It's definitely a wake-up call and something you take to heart."

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