Fielding a lineup that was a mix of regulars, prospects and border line veterans, it was no surprise that Pittsburgh got off to a sluggish start in their pre-season opener.
Behind strong goaltending from Mathieu Garon (21 saves), the Blue Jackets jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two periods on goals from Jakub Voracek’s (first-period) and two late second-period goals by Maxim Mayorov
Pittsburgh which led the NHL in third period comebacks last year, mounted another one Tuesday night.
Sidney Crosby scored two third period goals, rallying the Penguins to four third period goals to force over-time. Down 3-2, following two third period tally’s from Crosby, Chris Connor scored at 5:16 of the third period to tie the game at 3-3.
Columbus answered back as Alexandre Picard scored with just 2:02 left in regulation. The Blue Jackets lead didn’t last long.
Chris Kunitz scored 17 seconds later to force over-time.
In over-time it was Sidney Crosby who took over. Crosby set up the game winner, feeding line-mate Chris Kunitz all alone in the slot for a shot past Dan LaCosta.
LaCosta entered the game in the third period, giving up all 5 goals.
Pittsburgh Penguins top prospect Eric Tangradi played on a line with Sidney Crosby and had 2 assists on the night.
Most of the buzz in the Penguins training camp has been about Sidney Crosby switching to a composite stick in training camp. Despite scoring two goals on the night, Crosby will take his time before making a decision to move away from a wooden stick, which he has used his entire NHL career.
“It’s a little early right now. I thought I analyzed it a lot, but you all know more about it than I do,” Crosby said.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 16 of 19 shots in two periods. He was replaced after the second period. Pittsburgh outshot the Blue Jackets 42-28.
Defenseman Deryk Engelland won a decisive decision in a first period fight.
The Penguins next pre-season game will be Friday, September 19th against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Backup goaltender Brent Johnson will start in net.