There will be a tomorrow for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
With their backs against the wall after losing the first three games in the best-of-seven series, the Blue Jackets came out skating hard, regained their aggressive shooting in the attack zone and staved elimination with a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in front of a capacity crowd at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Tuesday night.
It was the Blue Jackets' first regulation postseason win in franchise history.
The Blue Jackets will look to once again extend the series when they take on the Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena in Pittsburgh Thursday night.
The Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead over the Penguins when defenseman Jack Johnson tallied a score at the 8:14 mark of the opening period.
After center William Karlsson won the faceoff, Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard controlled the puck along the blue line. Then, he sent a pass to Johnson on the right point. Johnson corralled the pass on the blade of his stick and sent a shot toward the net. The attempt ricocheted off the skate of Penguins center Sydney Crosby and into the net.
With just over a minute left in the first period, the Blue Jackets doubled their lead on a goal from right winger Josh Anderson.
After Karlsson forced a turnover when he controlled a puck that bounced off of a Penguins forward in the neutral zone and sent a pass to Anderson on the near boards. Anderson skated up ice and slipped a shot out of Fleury’s reach for Columbus’ second tally of the game.
Less than five minutes into the second period, the Blue Jackets added onto their lead and took a 3-0 advantage over the Penguins.
The Blue Jackets applied pressure on Fleury when center Boone Jenner sent a shot on net from the top of the right face-off circle. Defenseman Markus Nutivaara controlled the rebound to the glove side of the goalie and stuffed the puck into the net.
The Penguins trimmed the deficit when right winger Patric Hornqvist slapped a deflected puck over the left shoulder of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and into the back of the goal at the 13:17 mark of the second period.
Then, the Penguins further cut into Columbus’ lead when former Blue Jackets defenseman Ron Hainsey took a pass from right winger Phil Kessel and fired a wrist shot from the right corner of the rink off of Bobrovsky’s right leg pad and into the goal.
The Blue Jackets made it a two-goal game when Karlsson tallied his first goal of the postseason just 27 seconds into the third period. Karlsson fired the original shot on net, but it sailed high and into the boards. However, he controlled his own rebound and banked in the goal off of the Pittsburgh net-minder.
Although the Penguins had an answer when right winger Tom Kuhnhacki scored less than two minutes later, the flurry of activity continued when Jenner followed up a big hit on Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta by jamming home a rebound off of a missed shot from Brandon Saad with 14:23 left in regulation.
The five goals the Blue Jackets scored against Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury were the most he has allowed since the New York Islanders tallied six on May 7, 2013.
The Penguins tallied a late goal when despite being down a man because of a bench minor penalty and having an empty net on the other side of the rink, center Jake Guentzel ripped a snap shot out of Bobrovsky’s reach and into the net.