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Foligno's OT goal caps Blue Jackets' comeback

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Nick Foligno told the Columbus Blue Jackets in the locker room during the third intermission Wednesday that he was going to score the winner in overtime. Then he went out and did it.

Foligno's goal was the exclamation point on the Blue Jackets' come-from-behind 4-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round series.

"I didn't think it would actually work, but it ended up working, so I'm thanking my lucky stars tonight," Foligno said.

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 2-2. All four games have ended 4-3. Game 5 is in Pittsburgh on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT).

Brandon Dubinsky scored with 24 seconds left in regulation to tie the game 3-3.

Pittsburgh led 3-0 after James Neal scored his first goal of the playoffs at 11:10 of the first period. Craig Adams put the Penguins up 1-0 at 6:09 on a shorthanded goal, and Chris Kunitz scored on the power play at 10:37.

Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 42 saves, but the two shots he failed to stop late in the game will be the most talked-about leading up to Game 5.

Foligno's game-winner came on a wrist shot from 55 feet out, and it was Fleury's inability to stop Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson's dump-in that led directly to Dubinsky's game-tying goal.

"We have to respond, from Sidney Crosby right down through our lineup. We have to respond as a team, Marc-Andre Fleury and the whole group," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said.

The Blue Jackets carried the momentum from Dubinsky's goal into overtime, when they took five of the six shots. The winning sequence started with a selfless play by Columbus forward RJ Umberger, a Pittsburgh native, who threw his body in front of a shot.

Umberger got up and chased the puck as he moved into the neutral zone, but teammate James Wisniewski was already there and poked the puck to Umberger, who then dished to Foligno flying into the Penguins zone for the shot.

"[Umberger] has a huge block, and that set it all up," Foligno said.

That Umberger and Foligno connected on the play was significant because they were out due to injuries at the start of the series. Umberger missed Game 1, and Foligno sat the first two.

"It seemed like it dropped," Fleury said of Foligno's goal. "It knuckled. It was going down. I stood up at that point."

Johnson recalled Foligno's talk in the locker room before overtime.

"After the third period he said he was going out and score it for us," he said. "I was impressed he did it so quickly. It was pretty awesome."

Each of the first three games of the series saw the losing team blow a 3-1 lead. After rallying for the win and a 2-1 series lead Monday, the Penguins were left to contemplate surrendering a 3-0 lead Wednesday.

"It really shouldn't happen in the playoffs," said Crosby, who has not scored a goal in his past nine playoff games.

The Penguins lost Game 2 in double overtime, the first playoff win in Blue Jackets' history, then couldn't close out Game 4 in Columbus' first home postseason win.

Until Dubinsky's goal it appeared the Penguins would escape despite several close calls. Columbus' Cam Atkinson fanned on an attempt at a fluttering puck with two seconds left in the second period, and Matt Calvert wristed a shot off the crossbar early in the third.

Pittsburgh did not allow a shot on goal for more than 10 minutes in the third period and appeared to be on its way to a 3-1 series lead when the Blue Jackets accidentally passed the puck out of the Penguins zone with about 35 seconds left.

But Columbus quickly brought the puck up the ice, and Johnson sent it rimming behind the Penguins goal. Fleury whiffed on his attempt to stop the puck, and Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen got it and sent it out front.

"The guy dumped it in," Fleury said. "It wasn't that hard, so I thought I could get it. It just went over my stick, and the guy stuck it in the net."

Dubinsky wristed the game-tying goal home before Fleury could get back into the crease.

"It was a Columbus goal," Dubinsky said. "We went in and forechecked them hard. [Ryan] threw it out front to me. I don't know what happened to Fleury. A couple of guys dive. It was a seeing-eye shot."

From the time Neal scored the Penguins' third goal to the end of the second period, Columbus outshot Pittsburgh 25-8 and got a power-play goal from Boone Jenner in the first and a 5-on-3 goal from Johansen at 14:20 of the second.

"You've got to hold on to a lead in this series," Foligno said. "The team that does it is going to win it."

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