Did the Columbus Blue Jackets get back in the groove, even in falling behind 3-0 in their series, considering the four goals they scored against Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 3? Either way, they really made “The Flower” wilt on Tuesday.
Granted, Columbus didn’t beat Pittsburgh 5-4 in Game 4 due to Fleury’s struggles alone.
Instead, they played exactly like you’d picture a team would need to play to fight off a sweep: aggressive while shaking off setbacks.
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Early in the second period, the Blue Jackets went up 3-0, only to see the Penguins enter the final frame down a single goal. You could argue that a more fragile team might have fallen apart, especially against an opponent as dangerous as the Penguins.
Instead, the Blue Jackets just kept pushing forward.
William Karlsson made it 4-2 just 27 seconds into the third, a huge goal that prompted fun hair-flip GIFs. Yet … there was another opportunity for frustration to take over when Tom Kuhnhackl shrunk the lead to one goal again about 90 seconds later.
Again, the Blue Jackets just kept fighting. Boone Jenner made it 5-3 mere minutes later on what would ultimately stand as the game-winner.
(Yes, the Penguins scored once again … but too late this time around.)
It was also a rare rough night for Sidney Crosby, who failed to generate a shot on goal and suffered a -3 rating. Three assists from Phil Kessel and two from Evgeni Malkin just weren’t enough to knock the Blue Jackets out.
While Fleury faces some questions after allowing four and five goals in Columbus, Sergei Bobrovsky breathes a sigh of relief … though you wonder if there’s still some self-doubt. Merely looking at this stat could make Bobrovsky and others shudder.
They can work on that in Pittsburgh for Game 5. At least tonight they finally won a playoff game in regulation – and stayed alive in the series – on Tuesday.
It’s a long ride to getting the most important first on their minds (first Blue Jackets comeback from a 3-0 deficit), but they took that initial leap tonight.