The Penguins knew they wouldn’t have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Mark Letestu and Arron Asham for the Tuesday night showdown against Columbus.
What the Penguins weren’t expecting was a last-minute scratch to winger Chris Kunitz, the team’s fourth-leading scorer, due to a lower-body injury.
The depleted Penguins dropped a 4-1 game to the Blue Jackets at CONSOL Energy Center.
Pittsburgh had trouble solving goalie Steve Mason, who played a phenomenal game between the pipes. He made several highlight reel saves, and frustrated the Penguins all night.
Tyler Kennedy continued his strong run with a power-play goal against Columbus.
Kennedy carried the puck from behind the net and whipped a perfect turning shot into the top corner of the net over the shoulder of goaltender Steve Mason.
Kennedy now has three goals in the past four games.
The Blue Jackets held a 2-0 lead late in the second period, but the Penguins were charging hard. Steve Mason had to make a few spectacular saves to keep Pittsburgh off the board, but a goal was starting to feel inevitable.
But then Rick Nash threw a shot on net that Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped. The rebound bounced out, off the skate of Jakub Voracek and into the goal with 2:48 left in the middle frame.
The referees reviewed the score to make sure it wasn’t scored with a kicking motion. They ruled it a goal and the 3-0 lead was too much for the Penguins to overcome.
(AP) - Rick Nash and Jakub Voracek each had a goal and an assist to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Samuel Pahlsson and Antoine Vermette also scored for Columbus, and Steve Mason was sensational in net with 32 saves.
The Penguins added center Chris Kunitz to an injury list that already includes Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (knee). Kunitz, third on the team in goals, has a lower-body injury and is day to day.
- With Chris Kunitz added to the injury list, the Penguins now have five regular players sidelined. Joining Kunitz are Arron Asham (upper body), Mike Comrie (hip), Sidney Crosby (concussion), Mark Letestu (knee) and Evgeni Malkin (knee). Pittsburgh has 155 man-games lost this season.
- The Blue Jackets won in regulation against Pittsburgh for the first time in the past six meetings. The Penguins had been 4-0-1 coming into the game.
- It was a strong night in the faceoff circle as the Penguins dominated on the draws. Pittsburgh went 33-22 (60 percent) in faceoffs. Leading the way were performances from Jordan Staal (13-4, 76 percent) and Maxime Talbot (13-5, 72 percent).
#1. Steve Mason
Goaltender - 1
#2. Rick Nash
Forward - 61
#3. Jakub Voracek
Forward - 93
Author: Sam Kasan