Crosby, Penguins close to saying goodbye, Columbus

Guentzel netted a hat trick, including the overtime victor at 13:10 in a 5-4 victory, as the Penguins took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Blue Jackets in the East Conference quarterfinals. Since Pittsburgh kept possession of the puck, officials didn't stop play, which led to Bryan Rust tying the game at three as Werenski spilled red on the ice on his way to the locker room. Werenski returned in the third period with a full facemask and a significant cut and bruise under his right eye - he tweeted a photo of his face after the game that showed his eye almost swollen shut.

Columbus outshot Pittsburgh in their first two playoff games, and the Blue Jackets had chances to win all three.

Schwartz had a power-play goal at 15:19 of the second period to put the Blues one win away from the second round.

To summarize, the Blue Jackets jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't sharp for the first time all series, the crowd was in a lather. Instead of pylons, the Penguins center used Blue Jackets' defenders.

The Blue Jackets have struggled to get past the Penguins in net, scoring just one goal in the first two games of the series, and still struggling in Game 3, even scoring four goals in an overtime loss. He is the first Penguins rookie to score three goals in a playoff game. That's all we're concerned about: To feel good about ourselves tonight, after this game.

Atkinson picked up his second goal of the game at 5:02, forcing a Crosby turnover and beating Fleury with a backhander.

The Penguins' attack was relentless, never more so than in Game 3, when they turned a 3-1 deficit after one period into a backbreaking 5-4 win. However, the Pens scored twice in the second period and both teams traded goals in the third period to force overtime.

Johnson scored first for the Blue Jackets at 11:46 of the opening period when he launched a wrister from the right point into traffic that bounced off Crosby's skate and into the net.

"I'm just trying to stay in front of the net".

"We had to stay with it", Crosby said. Even when they would win series, they would too often leave the door open for opponents or let series go an extra game or two. After a lackluster end to the season and a flat Game 1, the Jackets played with aggression. Less than two minutes after Nutivaara's goal, Hornqvist made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 6:43 of the second.

Pittsburgh has comfortably won the first two games in this series, but I think Columbus will bounce back today. When that advantage was temporarily cut in half, they went to a more conservative and buttoned-down defensive posture, but the Penguins still brought plenty of stress to the equation. "We just got to keep doing it".

  • Julie Sanders