The Columbus Blue Jackets went down two goals and three forwards and left with a Game 1 victory.
Artemi Panarin scored a beautiful goal 6:02 into overtime to give the Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night in the first-round playoff series.
Panarin won it after Columbus lost Josh Anderson to a game misconduct Walter Payton Bears Jersey , Alexander Wennberg with an apparent head injury and captain Nick Foligno after taking a puck to the face.
None of that seemed to faze a team accustomed to overcoming injuries and digging out of deficits.
”In the playoffs, you find a little bit of extra energy,” said Blue Jackets forward Thomas Vanek, who scored from Wennberg’s spot on the power play and had an assist. ”That tonight was one of those games where we talked to each other, we pumped each other up, we felt good and it never felt like we were going to lose this one.”
Maybe the Blue Jackets didn’t, but they didn’t make it easy on themselves, falling behind 2-0 on power-play goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on Anderson’s five-minute major penalty for boarding and injuring Washington’s Michal Kempny. Not letting the game snowball out of control allowed Columbus to claw back in it with Wennberg’s goal in the second and then Vanek’s on the power play early in the third.
Vanek scored with Tom Wilson in the penalty box for charging Wennberg, a play the Capitals forward took responsibility for shifting the game in the Blue Jackets’ direction.
”That cost us the game,” Wilson said. ”That’s a critical moment. I’ve got to be better. Maybe pass up on that hit. We’ve got the lead there, so maybe a big hit’s not needed.”
Foligno took a slap shot from Jakub Jerabek to the face just under his left eye 10 seconds after Vanek’s goal, making a gaping hole on the Columbus bench until he returned. Even though Devante Smith-Pelly scored to give the Capitals a lead 5:12 into the third Cheap Shaquem Griffin Jersey , the Blue Jackets kept grinding away and didn’t let the game get away despite being under-manned.
”There was no panic on the bench there,” coach John Tortorella said. ”I think players enjoy that. It’s not a big deal to them when they lose players. They’re happy because they get on the ice quicker and more often. We just stayed with it.”
Norris Trophy-contending defenseman Seth Jones made things happen to send the game to overtime in the building where father Popeye spent two of his 11 NBA seasons. Jones drew a tripping penalty on Andre Burakovsky that Washington coach Barry Trotz called unnecessary, almost put the puck in his own net on the delayed penalty and then scored off a pass from Panarin on the ensuing power play with just 4:26 left in regulation.
That set the stage for Panarin to drive around fellow Russian Dmitry Orlov before going backhand to forehand and beating Philipp Grubauer top shelf to give the Blue Jackets their first series lead in franchise history in their fourth opportunity.
”Big goal for our team,” said Panarin, whom Columbus acquired in a trade from Chicago last summer after lacking finish in its series defeat to Pittsburgh. ”I’m happy because it was a hard game and a big win.”
It’s a big loss for the Capitals after Grubauer allowed four goals on 27 shots. Trotz gave Grubauer the nod over 2016 Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby to start Game 1 but said afterward he’d consider his goaltending options ahead of Game 2 Sunday in Washington.
”Philipp’s body of work has been good,” Trotz said. ”I thought he was fine. We’ll sit down and re-evaluate all the goals, evaluate our team and where we’re at and go from there.”
There’s no such controversy for Columbus, which got 27 saves on 30 shots from two-time Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky in his most recent chance to put his playoff struggles in the past. Bobrovsky bounced back from allowing a soft goal to Kuznetsov and stopped 10 of the other 11 shots he faced on the penalty kill.
”That’s the team effort,” Bobrovsky said. ”You just have to stay focused and play your game no matter what.”
NOTES: Trotz said Kempny, whose head hit the glass on Anderson’s hit from behind, would be re-evaluated Friday. … Wennberg never returned after his hit from Wilson. … Foligno missed a few shifts after he said Jerabek’s shot cracked his visor into his face. … Panarin had three points in one game after recording just one in the Blackhawks’ first-round loss via sweep last season. … Kuznetsov’s goals 29 seconds apart are the fourth-fastest on the power play by the same player in Stanley Cup playoff history. … Washington went to overtime for the seventh time in its past 14 playoff games. … Capitals C Jay Beagle missed the game with an upper-body injury. Trotz continued to call his fourth-line center ”day-to-day.”
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.
The sluggish opening three months. The so-so finish. The only occasional attention to detail on defense. None of it matters anymore.
The playoffs are here. The champs are, too.
Sidney Crosby and the Penguins provided proof in Pittsburgh’s 7-0 dismantling of the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening game of their first-round series Wednesday night.
Crosby performed more stick wizardry on his way to his third postseason hat trick Devin Hester Jersey , Evgeni Malkin added a highlight-reel goal of his own and the Penguins overwhelmed their seemingly overmatched cross-state rivals to begin their quest for a third straight Stanley Cup with a blowout that seemed to indicate the grudge match could be a mismatch.
Not that Pittsburgh’s captain wanted to buy into any sort of message sending, even after the Penguins became only the fifth team in NHL history to win a series opener by at least seven goals.
”I mean, it’s one game,” Crosby said. ”Whether it’s 7-0 or 1-0 or double overtime, it’s one game. A big part in the playoffs is to get better every game and to adjust, and that’s the way we have to look at it.”
That might be a frightening proposition for the rest of the NHL. It certainly is for the Flyers, who have lost all five meetings with Pittsburgh this season, giving up at least five goals each time. Nothing that happened during the regular season, however, compared to Wednesday night. The Penguins pumped five goals in the first 29:01 to chase goalie Brian Elliott, and the Flyers simply could not keep pace.
”It was one of the worst games I’ve been a part of,” Flyers forward Claude Giroux said.
Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol mercifully pulled Elliott after Crosby swatted Brian Dumoulin’s point shot out of the air and knocked it by a stunned Elliott to put the Penguins up 5-0 just before the game’s midway point. Elliott stopped 14 of 19 shots before being replaced by Petr Mrazek. Mrazek made 12 saves Joe Montana 49ers Jersey , but Hakstol indicated he’s likely to go with Elliott again in Friday’s Game 2.
Whoever is in net for the Flyers, it won’t matter if the play in front of them isn’t better. Philadelphia’s power play went 0 for 4 and didn’t even generate a shot.
”They beat us from pretty much every aspect tonight, starting from the net out,” Elliott said. ”Everybody just has to be better.”
Jake Guentzel had a goal and three assists for Pittsburgh. Bryan Rust and Carl Hagelin also scored. Matt Murray stopped 24 shots for his third straight playoff shutout.
The Flyers stressed the need to stay out of the penalty box and put together three disciplined, competitive periods if they wanted to put an abrupt halt to Pittsburgh’s run at history. It didn’t happen. Not even close.
The Penguins jumped on Philadelphia early. Elliott stopped Kris Letang’s slap shot with his blocker only to see the long rebound go right to Rust, who ripped it over Elliott’s right shoulder to give the Penguins the lead 2:38 into the game.
Philadelphia’s best chance at staying in it came minutes later, but Scott Laughton whiffed on his first attempt from the doorstep and Murray made a sprawling glove save on Laughton’s second try to preserve Pittsburgh’s lead.
”If that goes in, it’s 1-1 and maybe we’re talking about a different result,” Crosby said.
Moments later, Hagelin expertly redirected Patric Hornqvist’s shot past Elliott 10:07 into the game. Malkin drew a hooking penalty to negate a Pittsburgh power play, and when he emerged from the penalty box, he whizzed past three Flyers in one sequence James Washington Game Jersey , darting by Jakub Voracek, slipping past Giroux and then fending off Shayne Gostisbehere before flicking a backhand past Elliott to put the Penguins up 3-0 before the series was 15 minutes old.
All that before Crosby got involved.
The two-time MVP has a knack for scoring in unorthodox ways. He beat Montreal’s Carey Price with an intentional double-deflection and smacked a rebound out of air in overtime to top New Jersey within a span of eight days last month.
His first of the playoffs was just as impressive and provided the exclamation point on a night Pittsburgh looked every bit the threat to become the first team since the New York Islanders of the early 1980s to capture three straight Cups.
NOTES: Crosby’s hat trick tied Pittsburgh owner and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux for the most postseason hat tricks in franchise history. … Murray hasn’t allowed a goal since Game 4 of the 2017 Stanley Cup finals, a span of 206:26. … The Penguins, who had the league’s top-ranked power play during the regular season, went 1 for 4 with the man advantage. … Pittsburgh C Derick Brassard, who missed time late in the regular season with a lower-body injury, had an assist in 13:44. … Injured Steelers LB Ryan Shazier, who is recovering from spine stabilization surgery and has already been ruled out for the 2018 season, stood up and led the sell-out crowd in a pre-game cheer.
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