Blue Jackets Struggle Defensively, Fall To Penguins For Seventh Consecutive Game

By Dan Dukart on February 26, 2019 at 9:36 pm
Chad Ruhwedel kicks the loose puck away from Nick Foligno at Nationwide Arena
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
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The Blue Jackets woke up a period too late.

After spotting the dangerous Penguins a 3-0 lead, the Blue Jackets fought back but came up short. The loss was the seventh consecutive at the hands of the Penguins.

The game was a physical, playoff-like environment, with a number of glorious chances. In the end, the home team's porous defense gave the Penguins sufficient chances to capitalize.

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Jake Guentzel, noted Blue Jackets killer, got the Penguins on the board with his 29th of the season. It was also his seventh goal and 11th point in nine regular season games against Columbus. 

The Blue Jackets thought they had tied the game on a Seth Jones slap shot, but the Penguins challenged, and the goal was overturned on Boone Jenner's skate interfering with Matt Murray.

A late first period goal by Jared McCann and an early second period goal by Evgeni Malkin stretched the lead to 3-0, but the Blue Jackets fought back.

On a delayed penalty, Ryan Dzingel registered his first point as a member of the Blue Jackets, as he found a streaking Oliver Bjosktrand, who sniped his career-high 12th goal of the season.

Minutes later, Cam Atkinson tied his career-high by tallying his 35th goal of the season. After Matt Duchene won the initial draw, the puck went around the horn before Zach Werenski set Artemi Panarin up with a one timer. The puck hit a Penguins player and bounced out to Atkinson, who made no mistake.

Early in the third period, the Blue Jackets had plenty of chances to capitalize on several glorious chances. Nick Foligno hit the post on the power play. Seconds later, the Blue Jackets found themselves with a 3-on-0, but Atkinson's extra pass surprised Duchene. 

McCann added an insurance goal midway through the third period, sealing the game. With five seconds remaining, Sidney Crosby beat Jones for an empty-net goal. 

Injury Update

Adam McQuaid left the game briefly but returned after an awkward collision with Bryan Rust. So, too, did Ryan Dzingel, who was hit in the arm with a Seth Jones slap shot. Ryan Murray (upper body) remains on injured reserve and is expected to be out "a little while," according to head coach John Tortorella. 

Next Up

The Blue Jackets are back in action on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nationwide Arena.

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