PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Matt Calvert's first career playoff goal gave the
Columbus Blue Jackets a badly needed boost. His second ended 4,493 days
of futility for a franchise that is quickly morphing from laughingstock
to something considerably more potent.
Calvert banged his own rebound past Marc-Andre Fleury 1:10 into the
second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned their first Stanley
Cup playoff win with a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on
Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all
alone at the left post. His first shot went into the goaltender's right
pad. He roofed his second into the top of the net to even the Eastern
Conference quarterfinals at one game each.
Game 3 is Monday in Columbus.
"You always dream about being the hero in overtime," Calvert said.
"We battled for it and it didn't come easy. We were down a couple goals
at different times. The penalty kill was great when it had to be and
it's just a great feeling right now."
The Blue Jackets trailed 3-1 after the first period, but Calvert's
short-handed goal 7:31 into the second changed the game completely.
"It gave hope to our guys," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "It
was 3-1 at the time and we scored to make it 3-2. You could feel it on
the bench. After that I felt we played a very strong game."
Looked like it.
Jack Johnson eventually tied it with 6:01 left in regulation. Ryan
Johansen also scored the first playoff goal of his career for Columbus.
Sergei Bobrovsky overcame a shaky start to finish with 39 saves.
Brian Gibbons scored twice and Matt Niskanen added his second goal of
the playoffs, but Pittsburgh was outplayed for much of the final
three-plus periods. Fleury made 41 stops but was helpless on the
"We have to be better," said Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby, who had
two assists but was held without a goal for the second straight game.
"That's really, I think, the bottom line. Right on through, whether it's
special teams or 5-on-5 we have to be better."
The Penguins have dropped four straight home overtime playoff games
and blew a chance to take a 2-0 series lead when they failed to bury the
Blue Jackets early on. Pittsburgh, the best power play team in the NHL
during the regular season, went just 1 for 8 with the man advantage,
including 0 for 2 in overtime. Even worse, Columbus has two short-handed
goals in as many games.
Both teams traded quality chances in the first overtime. Bobrovsky
made an excellent blocker save on Crosby racing down the right wing and
got a piece of Lee Stempniak's rebound. Fleury stuffed R.J. Umberger
from point-blank range earlier in the period.
There was no back-and-forth in the second extra session. Brandon
Dubinsky started the winning play by finding Atkinson in front and
Pittsburgh's defense offered little resistance until the puck was on
Calvert's stick for the winner.
"We stuck with it and we just kept playing and kept going and we got a
split in Pittsburgh and that's what we wanted," Calvert said.
The Penguins knew they couldn't afford a repeat of the first 21
minutes of Game 1, when the Blue Jackets knocked them around while
streaking to a two-goal lead before Pittsburgh rallied to escape.
This time, the start wasn't the problem for the Penguins. It was everything else.
Gibbons scored the first two playoff goals of his career 54 seconds
apart -- including a nifty short-handed breakaway in which he undressed
Bobrovsky -- to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead before the game was 5
minutes old. The giddiness didn't last long, for the Penguins or
Johansen scored before the power play expired and Gibbons, elevated
to Pittsburgh's top line midway through Game 1, did not return after
colliding with Johansen midway through the first period. While a
Niskanen shot from the point with 2:08 left in the first restored
Pittsburgh's two-goal edge, it only seemed to galvanize the Blue
The Penguins earned back-to-back power plays early in the second
period and somehow lost momentum. Some lethargic Pittsburgh passing set
up a 3-on-1 short-handed breakaway for the Blue Jackets, with Calvert
beating Fleury to bring Columbus within one. The disjointed effort by
the Penguins deflated the bench and the building.
The wave carried over into the third, with Columbus eventually
drawing even on Johnson's power-play goal with 6 minutes to go before
Calvert's winner gave Columbus a taste of playoff success after 13-plus
years of waiting.
"It's a big step for us as a group and an organization," Calvert
said. "It felt great, and I'm sure we're going to enjoy it tonight, but
it's a long series."
NOTES: The Blue Jackets scratched forward Nick Foligno once again
with a lower body injury but Foligno is optimistic he'll be able to
return for Game 3. ... Crosby's two assists moved him into third on the
team's career postseason scoring list. He now has 108 postseason points,
trailing Jaromir Jagr (147) and Mario Lemieux (172). ... Columbus D
Fedor Tyutin missed the third period and overtime due to an undisclosed