Sutter's goal with 11:42 remaining capped a rally from a two-goal
deficit as the Pittsburgh Penguins got past the Columbus Blue
Jackets 4-3 on Wednesday night in Game 1 of their first-round
Stanley Cup playoff series.
Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the circle after taking a pass
from right winger Beau Bennett on a rush play to continue the
Penguins' dominance of the Blue Jackets this season. Pittsburgh won
all five games against Columbus during the regular season and the
Blue Jackets held the lead for just 56 seconds in those games.
"You're coming down looking for something," Sutter said. "I figured
I had to shoot it. You just try to pick a side and go for it.
Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't but fortunately tonight
it did and it turned out to be the winner. It was a good win. We
stuck with it and bounced back."
The Blue Jackets put up a more representative showing this time
against the Penguins, building a two-goal lead early in the second
period, but they were not able to come away with the first playoff
win in the franchise's 14-year history.
The Blue Jackets' only other playoff appearance came in 2009 when
they were swept in four games in the first round by the Detroit Red
"We played a good game," Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said.
"We just let it get away. They're going to be ups and downs
throughout a playoff series. We've got a long way to go."
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played Saturday night in
Bennett, left winger Jussi Jokinen and defenseman Matt Niskanen also
scored for the Penguins. Center Evgeni Malkin had two assists as he
returned to the lineup after missing the final 11 games of the
regular season with a foot injury.
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who was benched in the
playoffs last season, made 30 saves. He is just 15-16 in the
postseason since helping Pittsburgh to back-to-back Stanley Cup
finals appearances in 2008 and 2009.
"There were a lot of responses from our team over the course of the
game," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "We didn't necessarily play
well at times but we responded to every challenge Columbus threw at
Johnson scored for the Blue Jackets and also had an assist and six
blocked shots while centers Mark Letestu and Derek MacKenzie also
Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 shots.
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When it was suggested to Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards that Game
1 represented a moral victory for a team with 13 players making
their playoff debut, he bristled at the thought.
"We're here to win, not just for it to be a learning experience,"
Richards said. "The learning comes from playing in the game and you
can learn by winning as much or more than you can by losing."
The Penguins scored twice on the power play in the span of 45
seconds early in the second period to tie the score at 3, capping a
flurry of goals in the first 2:19 of the period.
After MacKenzie pushed the Blue Jackets' lead to 3-1 with a
short-handed goal 43 seconds in, Bennett answered 51 seconds later
then Niskanen scored the tying goal 45 seconds after that.
MacKenzie became the eighth player in NHL history to score his first
playoff goal short-handed and first since Brad Werenka in 1998 for
"We found a way to win," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "We
didn't start off the way we wanted, getting down two goals. I think
we have some things to clean up but it's good to get the first one.
NOTES: The Penguins sent F Chris Conner (foot) to
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL on a conditioning assignment
Wednesday after he missed the last 40 games of the regular season.
... Pittsburgh C Joe Vitale to return to action after a mid-body
injury sidelined him for the last nine games of the regular season.
... The Blue Jackets are hopeful LW Nick Foligno (lower body) and C
RJ Umberger (upper body) will be ready for Game 2 after they took
part in a practice following the morning skate. ... Columbus C
Brandon Dubinsky was credited with nine hits. ... NHL commissioner
Gary Bettman attended the game.
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