COLUMBUS -- The Blue Jackets started Friday's game with 16 shots in the first period and had plenty of chances to score. In the second game of the weekend home-and-home with the Penguins, it was quite the opposite.
Columbus registered just three shots in the opening period and had recorded a total of 10 by the time 40 minutes had been completed, and it simply wasn't enough against a Pittsburgh team that was once again opportunistic. The Blue Jackets, who wanted to be tighter defensively tonight, were off to a good start and had a grip on slowing down the Penguins through the neutral zone, but they had a tough time getting the puck through to Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff.
The Blue Jackets gave up a goal to Pittsburgh's Deryk Engelland on a delayed penalty call to Jack Johnson, and yielded the dreaded own goal on a deflection by Blake Comeau early in the third period. Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards, who pulled Sergei Bobrovsky after 23 minutes of action on Friday, was very pleased with the play of Curtis McElhinney, who did everything he could to keep his teammates in this game tonight.
McElhinney made 24 saves, including a handful of testers, in what was only a 1-0 game entering the third period. But the second goal - credited to Chris Kunitz on the centering pass - was more than enough for the Penguins, who found their way into the Jackets' shooting lanes and made it a frustrating night offensively for the home team.
Richards said the bench's reaction after the Kunitz goal wasn't a concern, but the Jackets definitely experienced a bit of let down in the minutes that followed. Pittsburgh took control of the third period and didn't give the Jackets much time with the puck, and they played a disciplined game, as well.
1. DERYK ENGELLAND (PIT)
The Penguins got the game-deciding goal from their fourth line on a delayed penalty, and Engelland was the recipient of a nice pass by Joe Vitale from low in the zone. One quick flick of the wrists made it a 1-0 game, and it was a lead Pittsburgh would not relinquish.
2. JEFF ZATKOFF (PIT)
Earning a shutout and only being named the game's second star is indicative of the kind of night the Penguins' rookie goaltender had; he wasn't forced to make a lot of saves, but he was solid when called upon and finished with 19 stops for his first career shutout.
3. CURTIS MCELHINNEY (CBJ)
It's hard to ask for or expect much more than the Jackets got from McElhinney tonight. As stated above, he gave his team a chance to win the game and Richards said it was "disappointing" to waste a strong performance from his back-up goaltender.
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TUESDAY, 7 PM