Puck punch flattens Blue Jackets player in National Hockey League playoffs loss

In the second period of Sunday's Game 3 between the Penguins and Blue Jackets, Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski took a Phil Kessel shot right under the eye.

Columbus got offense from its lower lines, building leads of 3-1, 4-2 and 4-3 before Jenner poked in a goal amid heavy traffic 5:37 into the third period for a 5-3 lead.

Check out Marc-Andre Fleury's off-the-mask save (Dubinsky again) to preserve the tie in overtime.

And it is that kind of effort the Blue Jackets want for a full 60 minutes tonight. "Then we'll decided how to approach the rest of the series from there". He's Sullivan's guy, plain and simple. The Penguins could find their legs wearing down a little bit after continuing to take hit after hit in the first two games.

After those first 20 minutes, the visitors from Pittsburgh came alive. Fifteen of the 18 skaters the Penguins have dressed this postseason have registered at least one point.

"I don't know what the call is there", Dubinsky told the Columbus Dispatch. Then we'll worry about what the odds are after that.

Nash gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead early in the second.

Fear not, though. Nothing that happened in Game 4 suggests that the Jackets have what it takes to mount a historic comeback. His third goal gave the Penguins a 3-0 series lead and pushed Columbus to the brink of elimination.

Werenski saw on Twitter that a fan wore a shirt displaying a photo of Werenski's brutal facial injury to Game 4 of the Blue Jackets-Penguins Stanley Cup playoff series, Werenski rewarded the fan by giving him an autographed jersey, according to Fox Sports Ohio. "We've got a chance to just go out there and try to make a series of this". Forward Matt Calvert cross-checked Pittsburgh's Tom Kuhnhackl across the head with the game well out of reach late.

I'll spare everyone the walk down memory lane that is the Rangers series of 2014. Pittsburgh is the better team here and while Columbus has had a strong season I don't see them as a playoff threat at all and they get dealt another loss here as the Pens get it done on the road.

New York's win also ended a six-game losing streak at home in the playoffs going back to the 2015 Eastern Conference Final.

That all changed previous year.

If they advance, their projected second-round opponent, the Washington Capitals, are getting everything they can handle from the Toronto Maple Leafs, splitting overtime games at home in a series that resumes tonight north of the border.

What, Mr. Tortorella, are you and your players thinking ahead of Game 4? With the other series in the East being neck and neck, and the Penguins eventual second-round opponent playing an unexpected two consecutive OT games to start the series, the Penguins have a great opportunity to help their own cause by disposing of the Blue Jackets in short order. "As a series progresses, each game gets harder".

  • Zachary Reyes