COLUMBUS, OHIO – In the dressing room after Brandon Dubinsky’s late goal forced overtime, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno half-jokingly said he would get the winner.
Then he did it.
Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation and Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session — from right over the top of the Stanley Cup painted under the ice — gave the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
Asked if he had called the goal, Foligno laughed.
“I might have,” he said with a wide grin. “I didn’t actually think it would work out, but it ended up working. I’m going to thank my lucky stars.”
The Blue Jackets overcame a 3-0 deficit for their first home playoff victory in the franchise’s 13 seasons, sending the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday night tied 2-2.
The defeat left the Penguins, who had rolled over Columbus in all five meetings during the regular season, stunned.
“We lost the game, it’s 2-2 now and we have to have a response from our whole group,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said.
Craig Adams, Chris Kunitz and James Neal scored in a 5:01 span in the first period to stake the Penguins to a three-goal lead and briefly silence the rowdy crowd of 18,970.
But the Blue Jackets, unlike prior teams that had made the franchise a laughing stock by piling up defeats and failing in big games, kept coming. Rookie Boone Jenner scored on a 5-on-3 power play to cut it to 3-1.
That was an ominous sign for the Penguins.
In the three previous games of the series, a team had scored first on the way to a 3-1 lead — and then lost the game. This one was no different.
Ryan Johansen, who would star on Dubinsky’s tying shot, then tapped in a goal, also with a man advantage, to make it 3-2 through two periods. It stayed that way, both Marc-Andre Fleury of Pittsburgh and Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky trading big saves, until the final minute.
As brilliant as he had been at times, Fleury was the culprit. Without really having to, he elected to go to the back wall to handle Jack Johnson’s pass around the boards. He whiffed trying to handle the puck, it hopping over his stick, and he was left out of position. Johansen was there to saucer a quick backhanded pass through the crease where Dubinsky netted it. Blackhawks 4, Blues 3 (OT)
In Chicago, Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of overtime, and the Blackhawks beat St. Louis to even their first-round playoff series at two games apiece.
Kane carried the puck down the left side as teammates Ben Smith and Brandon Saad rushed toward the net, and beat Ryan Miller with a well-placed wrist shot for his 32nd career postseason goal.
Bryan Bickell tied it for defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago with 3:52 left in regulaton after the Blackhawks blew a 2-0 second-period lead. Andrew Shaw also scored, Jonathan Toews had two assists and Corey Crawford made 30 saves.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for the Blues, and Maxim Lapierre added a goal. Stars 4, Ducks 2
In Dallas, Cody Eakin and Alex Goligoski scored 1:22 apart on the Stars’ first two shots in the third period and Dallas beat top-seeded Anaheim in Game 4 to tie the series 2-2.
Even without captain Ryan Getzlaf, a surprise late scratch with an upper-body injury, and healthy scratch Teemu Selane, the Ducks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Bryan Allen and Patrick Maroon.