COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Cam Atkinson scored with 2:18 left in overtime after a dazzling setup by Brandon Dubinsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Friday night.
An intense game ratcheted up another level after Dubinsky cross-checked Penguins star Sidney Crosby in the back of the neck late in the second period. Crosby was slow getting to his skates and went to the locker room with 1:20 left, but returned for the third period and played the rest of the game.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 41 shots for the Penguins, and Sergei Bobrovsky turned away 24 for Columbus.
Evgeni Malkin put Pittsburgh ahead on a power play with 10:45 left, but Ryan Johansen tied it 2:42 later.
In overtime, Dubinsky cut into the slot and patiently curled away from the net and into the right circle before passing to Atkinson in the slot. The goal was Atkinson’s sixth this season.
Columbus was the last team this season to play in the NHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime format. The Penguins dropped to 5-1 in overtimes and shootouts.
Even though most of the game was scoreless, it had as much action as a high-scoring affair. Malkin broke the deadlock after Bobrovksy stopped his initial shot. The puck bounced around in traffic and made it back to Malkin, and he scored his ninth with players strewn across the zone.
Johansen scored with 8:03 remaining, beating Fleury on a near-post shot at a tough angle for his fifth. The goal withstood video review for a possible goalie interference penalty.
The game was filled with odd-man rushes, superb goaltending, booming hits and other nastiness. It was reminiscent of the closely contested first round series Pittsburgh won over Columbus two seasons ago.
In the first period, Columbus’ blanketing forecheck presented problems for the Penguins. Pittsburgh came the closest to scoring when David Perron’s shot barely missed, kicking off Bobrovksy and the left post 28 seconds into the game.
The intensity increased in the second period. Patric Hornqvist sent a thundering shoulder check into Matt Calvert in the corner, and then pushed his stick into Calvert on the ice. With just over a minute remaining in the period, Dubinsky took out Crosby. Malkin – who already had two slashing penalties in the game – set off a melee when he jabbed at Bobrovksy and eventually fought Jack Johnson.
NOTES: Pittsburgh has scored a power-play goal in five straight games. … Columbus tied the franchise record with its eighth win in November. … The Blue Jackets played a franchise-record 23-straight regulation games to start this season. It was the longest such streak since the 1998-99 Islanders began with 27 straight regulation games. … The Blue Jackets play in St. Louis on Saturday night. The Penguins host Edmonton on Saturday night.
(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)