Columbus went into Game 4 at Nationwide Arena knowing that from here on out, nothing but a win would do. Down 3-0 in the series and in the deepest of holes against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Blue Jackets battled to a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night. Goals from Jack Johnson, Josh Anderson, Markus Nutivaara, William Karlsson and Boone Jenner helped the Jackets on their way, whilst Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves.
Columbus took the lead at the 11:27 mark thanks to a fortunate bounce. Jack Johnson threw the puck towards goal which deflected off Sidney Crosby‘s skate and beyond Marc-Andre Fleury into the net. They doubled their lead at 18:56 thanks to a burst from Josh Anderson. Skating from the neutral zone down the right wing, he moved in on goal before sliding the puck under Fleury and into the net.
The third goal for Columbus came at 4:48 of the second period from Markus Nutivaara who was playing in his first NHL playoff game. The Finnish defenseman’s initial effort was stopped, but he drove the net and when the puck eventually came back to him following a Boone Jenner shot, he made no mistake. Pittsburgh finally got themselves on the board at the 6:43 mark of the second, Patric Hornqvist scoring on the Power Play. He found himself in the right place at the right time to lift the puck past Bobrovsky after the puck again deflected off Sidney Crosby in front of the net. Ron Hainsey reduced the deficit to a single goal at 16:24 when his shot through a screen found its way into the far side of the net.
Nerves that may have been building among the home faithful will have been settled somewhat when William Karlsson scored just 27 seconds into the third period. His initial shot went wide, but he showed a real turn of speed to get to the rebound and throw a backhand on goal. Fleury will perhaps be disappointed with the part that he played in the goal, seeming slow to react to the play. Pittsburgh reduced the arrears to a single goal less than two minutes later when Tom Kuhnhackl scored his first of the series. He pounced following a goalmouth scramble, beating a prone Bobrovsky on the short side. Boone Jenner restored the Blue Jackets’ two-goal lead after another goalmouth scramble. Brandan Saad sent the puck across the crease and Jenner was on hand to score what would prove to be the game-winner. Jake Guentzel did manage to get the Penguins to within a goal, scoring shorthanded with 28seconds left on the clock but it was too little, too late for the defending champs. The goal was Guentzel’s fifth of the series.
The teams will meet in Pittsburgh on Thursday (7 p.m ET) for game five.