Easter Sunday is loosely about remembering how Jesus was dead for three days and then rose again to claim a victory. On this Easter Sunday, the Blue Jackets and their fans hope of seeing the second round of the playoffs this year died in overtime, right in front of their eyes. Jesus was able to come back from a 3-0 deficit. Not sure these Blue Jackets are cut from the same cloth.
The Jackets had strong starts in Games 1 and 2 but came away with dick to show for it. It wouldn’t take long for them to get rewarded in this one, however. The Pens never once trailed on the scoreboard at any point in the series, but that all changed 11 seconds in when Cam Atkinson finally pumped some life into the Blue Jackets offense, jamming a fat rebound past Fleury to give Columbus an early lead.
The Pens threw a punch right back a few minutes later when Jake Guentzel reached the rebound of a shot off the boards and buried it in one motion past Bobrovsky.
Guentzel is always in the right place at the right time. The guy probably finds money on the street every day. He was just getting started in this one.
The Jackets weren’t about to roll over and die that easily, not yet anyway. The Penguins were throwing the puck around in their own end like United throws people off their planes; before you knew it Cam Atkinson was walking down Fleury’s driveway and taking the puck right to the back of the net, putting Columbus back on top, 2-1.
Less than a minute later, Dad Cullen took a swing at Sam Gagne’s stick, barely (maybe) catching a finger. All the ref saw was a Jacket shaking his hand like it was just blown off in ‘Nam and the Jackets found themselves on the PP. With Cullen in the box and Bonino in the locker room after taking a puck to the face, the Pens PK was down two of their best, and the Jackets made them pay:
They had solid starts in the first two games, but for the first time all series the Jackets were going in to the first intermission ahead on the scoreboard.
Like each game before this, the second was all Pens. They’d eventually end the period with 19 shots, two goal and a tie game. These 20 minutes served as the Jackets come to Jesus moment. They were finally ahead on the scoreboard, by more than one goal, at home, and the Pens didn’t even flinch. If there is writing on the wall for this series, it happened right here.
A little over five minutes in, Bryan Rust got his stick on a shot, deflecting it past Bob to make it 3-2.
Rust wasn’t done. Eight minutes later, Columbus caught a bad bounce when a Phil Kessel shot rode up on Sac Werenski, putting Werenski on his face in a pool of blood. Play continued because it’s the Cup and that’s what hockey does, as Columbus fans are learning, eventually ending when Malkin threw a pass to the front of the net, which was batted home by Bryan Fucking Rust, off the stick of Brandon Saad.
Let’s check in with Werenski’s face…
If you watch hockey long enough, you’ll see a highlight of Brandon Dubinsky cross-checking someone. When he retires, Columbus will probably honor his career with a ten-minute highlight reel of Dubinsky’s best cross-checks. He threw an average one Jake Guentzel’s way halfway through the third, putting the Pens on the man advantage, and Guentzel was the one who made him pay.
Basically the same exact goal as his first. He’d have one more in him…
As regulation ended with the score tied, Dubinsky would show his face again:
The Pens were swarming all over the Jackets but they would still need Fleury to bail them out with the save of the postseason…
Two months ago we didn’t even know if Fleury would be a Penguin right now. Unreal stuff.
After that one, you just knew it was only a matter of time.
Great finish by Guentzel, but Crosby behind the net is unstoppable. He went to his workshop and all someone had to do was get open. In Guentzel’s first three playoff games, he has two game-winning goals. How is this kid 22?
Quick note: Bobrovsky’s postseason record now stands at 2-9-1 to go along with a .892 save-percentage. He went 41-17-5, with .931 save-percentage and a 2.07 goals-against average in the regular season.
With that the Pens are up 3-0 in the series. All that’s left is the stunned faces…