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.
You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.
The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.
It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.
You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:
Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):
The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.
This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.
Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.
The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.
Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3
Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon
Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.
“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.
The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.
Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.
He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.
In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.
Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016