COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Pittsburgh Penguins also have another P-word going for them: patience.
Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Penguins from yet another two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
Now up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Penguins got off to a horrible start, but took charge in the final two periods.
“It’s not ideal, especially when it’s 2-1 and you fall behind (by two goals) again,” said captain Sidney Crosby. “Typically, it’s not the way you win hockey games. But it showed a lot of character and a lot of patience.”
A two-goal lead has been poison so far in the series. Columbus also blew a 3-1 lead in Game 1, then the Penguins returned the favor Saturday night. In each case the opponent scored the final three goals, the Blue Jackets taking their first playoff victory in double-overtime just 48 hours earlier in Pittsburgh. All three games have ended 4-3.
“Anytime a team gets a lead they find a way to give it up,” Sutter said.
Game 4 is Wednesday night here.
Down 2-0 early and then 3-1 in the third, the veteran Penguins scored on three consecutive shots.
Coach Dan Bylsma called a timeout after goals by Boone Jenner and Jack Johnson staked the Blue Jackets to a 2-0 lead 3:18 in before a raucous, overflow crowd of 19,148. The Penguins collected themselves and then collected another comeback win.
“We needed to reset,” Bylsma said.
The surge began with less than 2 seconds left in the second period when Brooks Orpik rifled a hard wrister past Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, making it 2-1.
Just over a minute into the third period, the Blue Jackets pushed the lead back to two goals. Brandon Dubinsky, who had two assists, spun and fired a backhander that hit the glove of teammate Cam Atkinson and beat a surprised Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury slammed the door after that.
His high-powered offense did the rest. The Penguins found their game, dominating with a 41-20 advantage in shots on goal and controlling the pace.
Wild 1, Avalanche 0 (OT)
In St. Paul, Minnesota, Mikael Granlund’s diving goal 5:08 into overtime allowed the Wild to pull within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 45 of 46 shots, a franchise playoff record for shots on goal by Minnesota.
Blackhawks 2, Blues 0
In Chicago, Corey Crawford made 34 saves in his third career postseason shutout, and the Blackhawks got back into their playoff series with St. Louis.
Jonathan Toews scored in the first period and Marcus Kruger added an empty-netter as Chicago bounced back after a pair of overtime losses.
Stars 3, Ducks 0
In Dallas, Kari Lehtonen had 37 saves, with some tremendous stops, for his first career postseason victory, and the Stars won their first home playoff game in six years.
Dallas captain Jamie Benn skated out of the penalty box to score late in the first period, and 19-year-old rookie Valeri Nichushkin added a goal for the Stars in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series.