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Penguins rally for 4-3 shootout win over Blue Jackets

NHL.com @NHL

Playing without Evgeni Malkin wasn't enough to stop the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not even a two-goal deficit in the last three minutes of regulation could keep them down.

The Penguins scored a pair of late goals to force overtime, then completed their comeback when captain Sidney Crosby scored in the second round of the shootout for a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night at Nationwide Arena.

Backup goalie Brent Johnson improved to 2-1-0 this season, with both victories coming in shootouts on consecutive Fridays. Giving starter Marc-Andre Fleury a breather on the first night of a back-to-back situation for Pittsburgh, Johnson stopped 29 shots through regulation and overtime, then denied Antoine Vermette, Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius in the penalty-shot tiebreaker.

Pittsburgh is 6-0-0 on the road this season, joining New Jersey (6-0-0) and Buffalo (4-0-0) as the only teams without a loss away from home.

''It felt like in the third we just kept generating chances,'' Crosby said. ''We all felt confident we could get ourselves back in it with the way we were playing, the momentum we had.''

Nash scored the first two goals of the game and Derek Dorsett had his first of the season for the Blue Jackets, who lost their second in a row at home and third straight overall after leading 2-0 and 3-1.

''We're not closing games,'' Nash said. ''We got the lead in a lot of the games already and just can't seem to close it out. They are the defending Stanley Cup champions. You can tell why they're such a good team. We are a team that needs to learn how to play with the lead.''

The Jackets held a 3-1 lead with less than three minutes remaining before the Penguins struck twice to tie on goals by Ruslan Fedotenko and Alex Goligoski. Chris Kunitz had the other goal for Pittsburgh.

Fedotenko converted the rebound of a Martin Skoula shot with 2:56 remaining as the Penguins closed to within one. Goligoski needed just 37 seconds to draw them even, taking a feed from Crosby and ripping a shot from the high slot past Jackets goalie Steve Mason.

"It shows a lot of character from our captain. He goes out and he's never quitting on anything,'' Kunitz said of the comeback. ''Sometimes a team goes packing, down by two with 3 minutes left. But he goes out, he's on the bench, he's saying, 'Let's get the next one.' So we go out there and he finds himself the puck and he gets it to (Goligoski), he gets a great shot and puts it in the net to get us to overtime.''

Malkin's streak of 254 consecutive games played came to an end, as the star forward is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a nagging shoulder injury. Early in Friday's game, the Penguins' biggest problem was keeping another of the League's prolific goal scorers off the board.

Nash got Columbus started with 1:47 left in the first period when he picked up his first power-play goal of the season, jamming in the rebound of Derick Brassard's wrist shot while on his knees. He made it 2-0 with his eighth of the season at 5:37 of the second, beating Johnson from the edge of the right circle after taking Vermette's pass from behind the net.

A shorthanded tally by Kunitz with 8:05 left in the second made it a one-goal game, but Sammy Pahlsson jumped out of the penalty box after his hooking penalty expired and hit Dorsett with a pass that led to a goal and a 3-1 lead with 2:10 to play before the second intermission.

But the Jackets couldn't close the deal.

''It should have never got to the shootout,'' Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''We did everything well but get the game shut down.''

-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com

Material from wire services was used in this report

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