The Columbus Blue Jackets just could not shut the door on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Center Jake Guentzel tallied a hat trick and fueled the Penguins’ offensive attack in 5-4 come-from-behind victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in overtime of Game 3 in the opening round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena Sunday night.
The Blue Jackets started out aggressively, and the early pursuit resulted in a goal just 11 seconds into the game, marking the first time Columbus held a lead over Pittsburgh after 120 minutes of hockey in the series.
Columbus controlled the opening face-off against the nearside boards, and after a brief tie up from the Penguins, Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky and left winger Nick Foligno helped push the puck into the attack zone.
Dubinsky put the initial shot on net, and when the puck caromed away from Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, right winger Cam Atkinson jammed home the rebound for the quickest playoff goal in the 17-year history of the Blue Jackets.
Although the Penguins drew even when Guentzel buried a loose puck into the net, Columbus went back in front when Atkinson tallied his second goal of the game.
The Penguins attempted to get the puck from behind their own net and into the neutral zone, but Atkinson skated into the passing lane, earned the takeaway, pushed toward the crease, got Fleury off-balance and slipped a backhanded shot under the goalie and into the back of the net.
The Blue Jackets built upon their lead when 19-year old rookie defenseman Zach Werenski scored on the power play with 13:50 left in the first period. Initially, one on-ice official waved off the goal, but after a replay review, the shot was ruled a good goal.
Werenski roofed the wrist shot over Fleury’s glove side and off the crossbar into the net.
The Penguins made it a one-goal game when right winger Bryan Rust tipped in a rebound just over five minutes into the second period.
Then, with 6:35 left in the second period, the Penguins evened the score at 3-3 when Rust put a snap shot behind Bobrovsky. Early in the play, Werenski took a shot off the face from center Evgeni Malkin and remained down on the ice for several seconds, all while play was still alive.
Although left winger Brandon Saad controlled a rebound off of a shot from Malkin, Rust slapped at Saad’s stick and sent the puck into the net.
The Penguins took their first lead of the game when Guentzel snapped a shot out of the reach of Bobrovsky, but the advantage did not last long, as the Blue Jackets had an answer when Dubinsky corralled a rebound in front of the crease and roofed a shot off the crossbar for the goal.
With the win, the Penguins hold a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with a chance to close out the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena Tuesday night.
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