The Columbus Blue Jackets needed to exorcise their Pittsburgh Penguins demons tonight and, well, they didn't come close.
The Penguins scored on their first shot, and while Joonas Korpisalo played admirably in net, the Blue Jackets never got anything going – despite a handful of power play opportunities and an obvious sense of desperation.
Phil Kessel's early goal set the tone, coming with a mess in front of the Jackets' net and banking in off of Korpisalo. The Blue Jackets looked like they were going to make it a close game, but late in the second, Nick Bjugstad rifled one through Korpisalo's pads with a nice screen in front.
As was the case last time, Sidney Crosby's empty-netter sealed it.
The Blue Jackets will get their shot at redemption two nights from now, but this is the toughest stretch of scheduling they'll have all year – and the team has looked like a mess ever since Jarmo Kekalainen swung for the fences at the trade deadline.
Ryan Murray's timetable for a return is still up in the air – but it's clear that the Blue Jackets need him back as soon as possible.
Penguins again with the season on the line – then a litany of other seemingly playoff-bound teams like Carolina, the Islanders, Boston (twice in this stretch) and Winnipeg. Yikes!