Stempniak, Pens Stun Jackets
Columbus, Ohio — Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
Pittsburgh took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series thanks to the goals on three consecutive shots. Game 4 is on Wednesday night.
Brooks Orpik added a goal in the final seconds of the second period as the Penguins stormed back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1. Marc-Andre Fleury had 17 saves.
Boone Jenner and Jack Johnson staked the Blue Jackets to an early lead in the opening 3:18, with Cam Atkinson getting credit for a goal early in the final period that stretched the lead to 3-1.
But then the Penguins found their game, dominating with a 41-20 advantage in shots on goal and controlling the pace to disappoint a raucous overflow crowd of 19,148.
Beau Bennett and Paul Martin each had two assists for the Penguins, as did Brandon Dubinsky for the Blue Jackets, who were trying for their first playoff victory at home. They were 0-5 in the postseason until pulling off a stunning 4-3 double-overtime victory Saturday night in Pittsburgh.
Down 3-1 after Dubinsky’s twirling backhander went in off Atkinson’s glove just over a minute into the final period, the Penguins found another gear.
Martin’s shot from the point was redirected by Sutter and cut the lead to a goal. Stempniak, the former Dartmouth College star, took a short pass from Kris Letang and waded in from the right wing, beating goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who finished with 37 saves, 1:10 later.
Then Jokinen redirected Olli Maatta’s shot from the point and it glanced in off defenseman James Wisniewski, thoroughly deflating a crowd waiting to celebrate an historic win.
Wild 1, Avalanche 0 (ot)
St. Paul, Minn. — Mikael Granlund’s diving goal 5:08 into overtime allowed Minnesota to pull within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series with Colorado.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 45 of 46 shots, a franchise playoff record for shots on goal by the Wild.
Blackhawks 2, Blues 0
Chicago — Corey Crawford made 34 saves in his third career postseason shutout, and Chicago got back into its playoff series with St. Louis with a victory in Game 3.
Jonathan Toews scored in the first period and Marcus Kruger added an empty-netter as Chicago bounced back after a pair of overtime losses in St. Louis.
Toews’ 21st postseason goal was only the second score by a Blackhawks forward in the series.
Ryan Miller shook off another slow start and made 23 saves for St. Louis.