COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Olli Maatta 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.
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 27 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 cut the lead to a goal. Stempniak 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 Maatta’s shot from the point glanced in off defenseman James Wisniewski, thoroughly deflating a crowd waiting to celebrate an historic win.
All three games have ended up 4-3, with one team building a 3-1 edge.
Columbus’ last best chance came with 30 seconds left when Fleury made a blocker save on Ryan Johansen’s hard shot.
For years, Penguins fans flooded into Nationwide Arena and had little opposition when they led “Let’s go, Pens!” cheers. But Columbus’ front office sold playoff tickets to Ohio addresses first, cutting down on long-distance buyers. As a result, the crowd was loud and decidedly partisan for the Blue Jackets.
They had a lot to cheer almost immediately.
Jenner, a rookie who scored 16 goals and 13 assists in a breakout season, put in a rebound 1:38 into the game.
That goal had barely been announced when the Blue Jackets made it 2-0.
Dubinsky, who has been matched defensively against NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby every time the superstar hits the ice, won two puck battles along the back boards and flipped a pass toward the front of the cage. Johnson was there to jam it past Fleury.
Bobrovsky stopped all 16 Pittsburgh shots in the first period, his best a sliding save to deny James Neal on a solo rush.
Orpik’s goal came with 1.8 seconds left in the second period. He rocketed a hard wrister that eluded Bobrovsky.
Notes: Columbus LW Nick Foligno (knee) returned after missing the last four games of the regular season and the first two games of the series. D Fedor Tyutin, who left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury, did not dress. … The Penguins were without Brian Gibbons, who had two goals in the opener, but left in the first period of Game 2. … Crosby has no goals in his last seven playoff games, and Malkin is scoreless in his last six.
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