PITTSBURGH - Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards was a calm and collected guy after his club's 4-2 loss to the Penguins tonight at CONSOL Energy Center.
Why, you might ask? First, he took a look at the number of chances the Jackets created against a normally-stingy Pittsburgh club. The visitors racked up nearly 40 shots on goal, used their power play to complement what they had generated 5-on-5, but by and large ran into a red-hot goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury set the tone for the Penguins early on: he made a pair of stellar stops on Nick Foligno and Marian Gaborik in the first four minutes of the game, and made 16 stops in the first period alone while emerging with a 1-0 lead. If there was a checklist of "good things" in Richards' coat pocket, it's safe to say the Blue Jackets crossed a few off - but they made some crucial mistakes in the second period that cost them dearly.
The Penguins scored three times in 4:24 early in the second period, chasing the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and tilting the ice in one direction. Pittsburgh, which has now scored three-plus goals in eight of nine home games, capitalized on its opportunities while the Blue Jackets were left seeking a little more "bear down" in their attack.
Let's take a closer look at tonight's game...
- Ryan Murray was by far one of the most consistent players for Columbus once again. He played 20:30 with a +1 rating - one of two Jackets blue liners with a plus in this game - and saw a lot of ice time against the Penguins' top six.
- He didn't appear on the scoresheet, but this was one of Artem Anisimov's better games of late. He skated well between Foligno and Gaborik, wasn't afraid to make some plays but struggled in the face-off circle (29 percent). If the Jackets want more from the top line, they'll need a bounce-back effort on the draw tomorrow.
- Bobrovsky struggled, but as Mark Letestu said, if there's one guy who gets a mulligan, it's Bob. He allowed three goals on 13 shots and didn't appear very sharp. McElhinney relieved him at the 3:01 mark of the second period.
- Another strong night for Dubinsky in the circle: he was 67 percent (10-of-15) and boosted his NHL top-20 ranking a bit with tonight's success.
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