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game recap

Sidney Crosby gets three points, Penguins win Game 2

Center has goal, two assists against Blue Jackets; lead series 2-0

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- For more than a decade, Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury have been at the forefront of Pittsburgh Penguins victories in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They were again Friday.

Crosby had three points, and Fleury made 39 saves to help the Penguins defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round at PPG Paints Arena. 

Crosby scored his 50th Stanley Cup Playoff goal in the first period before assisting on goals by Jake Guentzel in the second and Evgeni Malkin in the third.

 

[WATCH: All Blue Jackets vs. Penguins highlights | RELATED: Complete Columbus vs. Pittsburgh series coverage]

 

"It just comes down to execution," Crosby said. "If you execute, you make that little pass or that 10-foot pass, or you're able to beat that guy, then there's a chance to be had. So, I thought we did a better job as a group of doing that."

Pittsburgh leads the best-of-7 series 2-0. Game 3 is Sunday at Columbus. 

The Blue Jackets outshot the Penguins 8-0 before Crosby's goal at 8:31 of the first period.

"I thought we did a lot of the things we wanted to do," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "I'm proud of our club. The way they've handled themselves. The way they've done all the things we're asking them to do. So, we'll see them tomorrow, lick our wounds and we'll face off again."

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Crosby crashes net, taps puck home

Fleury allowed one goal in each of two starts in place of goalie Matt Murray, who is recovering from a lower-body injury sustained during warmups before Game 1 on Wednesday, a 3-1 win. Fleury has 55 playoff wins but won consecutive postseason starts for the first time since three straight victories against the New York Rangers from May 4-7, 2014. 

"I was more comfortable, more relaxed [than in Game 1]," Fleury said. "[Knowing I was going to start] is always a good thing. It's fun when you're home and get that much support from the crowd."

Crosby gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead after goalie Sergei Bobrovsky turned behind his net to retrieve the puck. Pittsburgh forward Conor Sheary dashed to the end boards to force a turnover and passed to Guentzel out front. Guentzel kicked the puck to his stick before passing to Crosby, who scored before Bobrovsky could recover. 

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Saad whistles a wrister into the twine

Columbus forward Brandon Saad, who was benched in the third period of Game 1, tied it 1-1 at 7:00 of the second period. Guentzel gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead 51 seconds later. 

Malkin scored to make it 3-1 at 2:01 of the third period. It was his first goal since returning after missing the final 13 games of the regular season with an upper-body injury; he had two assists in Game 1. 

Patric Hornqvist made it 4-1 on an empty-net goal with 46 seconds left.

 

Goal of the game

Crosby drove into the Columbus zone on a 2-on-1 with Guentzel facing defenseman Gabriel Carlsson. Crosby passed through Carlsson to Guentzel, who shot past a sliding Bobrovsky.

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Guentzel buries Crosby's cross-ice feed

 

Save of the game

Fleury preserved a 3-1 lead midway through the third period by denying Saad on a breakaway. Saad went to his backhand, but Fleury absorbed the shot with 9:17 left.

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Fleury closes the door to deny Saad

 

Highlight of the game

Bobrovsky temporarily kept the Penguins from extending their lead in the final minute of the second period after Crosby stripped Zach Werenski of the puck behind the net during a penalty kill. Bobrovsky tracked Crosby and made scrambling save on his backhand with 27 seconds remaining.

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Bobrovsky stones Crosby on the doorstep

 

Unsung performance of the game

Penguins defenseman Ian Cole entered a scrum as the second period ended and drew a roughing call on Brandon Dubinsky. Malkin scored Pittsburgh's third goal one second after the power play expired.

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Malkin slams Crosby's feed into cage

 

They said it

"They're three really good players. I think they play the game with a lot of courage. They go to the battle areas. They have great hockey sense and they're quick. They're hard to defend." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on the Guentzel-Crosby-Sheary line

 

"I could be better. Obviously, if we've lost two games, the goalie could be better. The series goes on and I'll keep working." -- Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky

 

"It's funny, just the way those bounces are going. But once they start bouncing our way, watch out." -- Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno

 

Need to know

Bobrovsky has allowed 19 goals in six straight losses (0-6-0). He last won March 28, when he made 41 saves against the Buffalo Sabres. … Crosby has 50 goals in 126 playoff games. He, Mario Lemieux (76) and Jaromir Jagr (65) are the only players to score that many for the Penguins. … Fleury played his 102nd playoff game, one more than Tom Barrasso for the most by a Penguins goalie. Fleury's 55 wins are one behind Barrasso for the Penguins record.

 

What's next

Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Nationwide Arena on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN360, TVA Sports 2, FS-O, ROOT)

 

Video: Fleury, Crosby lead Penguins to 4-1 win in Game 2

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