If there was a subtitle for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets series, it would be: No lead is safe.
After a 3-1 lead was blown in each of the first three games, the Blue Jackets rallied back from an early 3-0 deficit in Game 4 to earn a 4-3 victory in overtime.
This was a mixed game for Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. He stopped 42 shots and it’s hard to criticize a netminder too harshly when he sees that much work. At the same time, Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky’s goal with under 30 seconds remaining in regulation time to tie the game is one he should have had.
A similar case could be made for Nick Foligno’s game-winning goal.
Fleury has now allowed at least three goals in each of his last eight playoff games and the Penguins have surrendered over three goals per game in the postseason since they won the Stanley Cup in 2009. Whether you want to blame their goaltending or defense more for their shortcomings, the fact remains that the Penguins have not been playing like a team destined for great things.
Making this loss all the more deflating for Pittsburgh is the fact that it started with such promise. Craig Adams scored a shorthanded goal just 6:09 minutes into the first period. Chris Kunitz and James Neal followed it up with goals just 33 seconds apart to put the Penguins up 3-0.
Pittsburgh then got into penalty trouble, which contributed to the Blue Jackets getting back into the game. Boone Jenner scored with the man advantage and Ryan Johansen found the back of the net during a 5-on-3 opportunity.
The series is now even at two wins each with Game 5 scheduled for Saturday.
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.