— The Pittsburgh Penguins (34-17-4, 72 pts) dropped their second game in a row, losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets (26-22-5, 57 pts) 4-1 on Tuesday night at the Consol Energy Center.
Rick Nash and Jakub Voracek each had a goal and an assist and goaltender Steve Mason continued his strong play of late, making 32 saves, leading the Blue Jackets to their 3rd straight win.
Samuel Pahlsson and Antoine Vermette also scored for Columbus in the win. Pittsburgh native R.J. Umberger added 2 assists. The victory was the Blue Jackets first in Pittsburgh since 2002.
Tyler Kennedy scored Pittsburgh’s only goal, netting his 10th goal of the season at 7:29 of the third period. Kennedy has 3 goals in his last 4 goals and becomes the Penguins 7th player to record double digit goals this season.
Marc Andre Fleury made 21 saves in the loss.
Bylsma Audio: Bylsma Post Game Audio
— The Columbus Blue Jackets dictated the play offensively with their speed through the neutral zone. Pittsburgh’s defensemen got caught several times, either cheating into the offensive zone or getting out of position with their gap control. For a team fighting for their playoff lives, the Blue Jackets played with the type of determination you have to play with.
Ray Shero Audio: Shero audio on Crosby
— The Penguins struggled defensively and they got bad performances from several of their key players. Kris Letang (minus-3), Jordan Staal (minus-3) and Brooks Orpik (minus-2) were a combined minus-8 in the loss.
— The Penguins are offensively challenged right now and Dan Bylsma switched up his lines to provide a spark but it didn’t do much as the Penguins are not finishing plays.
“I tried a couple different line combinations. We’ll continue to look for lines and people who are able and willing to get into the offensive zone, play there, get in front of the net. As far as the mentality for our team generating offense i think players can do a better job of getting pucks into the blue paint.”
— Dan Bylsma for the second straight game came to the defense of Matt Cooke who received a 5 minute charging penalty.
“I didn’t get a decent look at it from live which is the look I have at this point in time. He’s on the forecheck, he’s not skating…. he’s not moving his feet to get a charge. Player looks him right in the eye, knows he’s coming and make sure he’s keeping his numbers turn towards him. But Matt does hit him there and send him into the boards. That’s basically the view that I think happened.
— Dan Bylsma said the Penguins learned about 30 minutes before warmups that Chris Kunitz was not going to be playing and Bylsma said that was surprising but he didn’t feel that was the reason the Penguins weren’t able to have success tonight.
Bylsma confirmed that Eric Tangradi was scheduled to be scratched, before he learned about Kunitz. Tangradi didn’t help his cause, finishing with a minus-2 rating.
*The Penguins fell to 0-12-1 when trailing after 2 periods.
*Dan Bylsma remains stuck on 99 career wins. He is set to become the Penguins fastest coach to 100 win.
*Jordan Staal came into tonight’s game 37.2% on faceoffs in his previous 5 games but went 13 of 17 (76%) on draws tonight against the Blue Jackets. However, Staal has just 1 goal in his last 9 games.
*Max Talbot continues his strong play of late on draws, winning 13 of 18 draws (72%) tonight. Talbot is 57 of 85 on draws in his last 7 games.
*The Penguins have held their last 8 opponents under 30 shots.
*Pittsburgh scratched Deryk Engelland and Chris Kunitz.
*The Penguins will not practice on Wednesday. They host the LA Kings Thursday night.
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