Apr 19, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Matt Calvert (11) celebrates his game winning goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (left) during the second overtime in game two of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Columbus Blue Jackets won 4-3 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets Get Franchise First Playoff Win, Even Series with Penguins


The Columbus Blue Jackets overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 in the first period to score 3 unanswered goals to get the first playoff win in franchise history with a 4-3 double overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brian Gibbons of the Penguins had 5 goals in the entire regular season, but got the Penguins out to a 2-0 lead early in the first.  The icebreaker was a case of right place, right time as Matt Niskanen‘s point shot deflected in off Gibbons.  Less than a minute later his speed and hands were on display as he broke away shortanded and put a nice deke on Sergei Bobrovsky to put the Pens up 2-0 before the game was 5 minutes old.

Ryan Johansen replied quickly on the same Blue Jackets power play, but Niskanen re-established the 2 goal cushion late in the frame with a point shot through a Chris Kunitz screen.  That was all the offense the Penguins could muster as the Blue Jackets began chipping away.

Matt Calvert converted a shorthanded 3 on 1 by keeping the puck and putting a wrist shot far side on Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period and then in the third Jack Johnson tied the score on the power play, jumping in from the point and putting a rebound into a yawning cage.

The first overtime solved nothing, but just over a minute into the second extra period Calvert was persistent in front of Fleury,  roofing the second rebound for his second of the game to make this a series.

This was the second time the Blue Jackets had qualified for the playoffs since joining the league in 2000-01.  They were swept by the Red Wings in their first post-season appearance in 2009, so this was a landmark game for the franchise, who knotted the series with the powerhouse Penguins at a game apiece heading home for games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday.

Sidney Crosby had 2 assists for the Penguins, as did Paul Martin while Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang were virtually invisible for the most part in the loss.

This series has been one of special teams.  Of the 7 goals scored in this game, 3 were on the power play and 2 were shorthanded. In game 1 there were 3 power play goals and a shorty.

This win leaves the Atlanta Thrashers / Winnipeg Jets franchise as the only one that has yet to win a single playoff game.


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Tags: Marc-andre Fleury Matt Calvert Matt Niskanen Sidney Crosby

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