By Larry Snyder
The Pittsburgh Penguins could not close the gap in Game 4 Tuesday despite putting up two goals in the second and third periods during their 5-4 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Pens head coach Mike Sullivan spoke with Craig Merz from NHL.com, “I don’t think we were good enough. You have to give them credit. They came out with a lot of urgency. We certainly talked about it before the game, being ready.”
This pair of Metropolitan Division adversaries come back together Thursday, April 20 for Game 5 in the City of Bridges at 7:00 p.m. Pittsburgh owns a 3-1 advantage over Columbus in their first round best-of-7 series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Jake Guentzel’s short-handed goal from the high slot at 19:32 in the third brought the Black and Gold within one of tying up contest. The 22-year-old rookie forward is the goal leader in the series with five.
Pittsburgh’s power play remains a vital part as they have three man-advantage goals in four meetings against Columbus. Patric Hornqvist added his second goal in the series with a low angle shot on the power play at 6:43 in the second period.
Sidney Crosby wrapped up the contest without a shot attempt for just the eighth time since the beginning of the 2007 campaign, per Corsica. The native of Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia had only one match-up which was injury-shortened. Nick Bonino, Scott Wilson, Carter Rowney, and Brian Dumoulin joined their captain with no shots against Blue Jackets’ goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
When it was time to control the puck by winning the faceoff, the Jacks claimed 36 of 57 for a 63% success rate. The Black and Gold recorded 21 of 57 for a 37% gain. Crosby collected the most puck drops for the Pens by achieving 48% on 12 of 25 wins.
Columbus took the lead in three other categories on the score sheet. John Tortorella’s squad outshot Sullivan’s crew 34-31, had more hits 27-23, and put up more blocks 19-13. Pittsburgh did lead in giveaways 5-2. Urgency did not seem to be in the Black and Gold’s vocabulary this evening.
The Canadian Press talked with Crosby about the loss and he told them, “You earn your bounces, and they were better. They earned the win, and we didn’t have the desperation that we needed to win the game.”
Box Score Bits: The Black and Gold’s scratches included Josh Archibald, Cameron Gaunce, Chris Kunitz, Matt Murray, Chad Ruhwedel, Tom Sestito, and Mark Streit.
Here Are SAP Game Highlights From YouTube.com – Penguins Vs. Blue Jackets, 2017 NHL Playoffs, Round 1. Game 4, On 04.18.2017…