There were times tonight when the Blue Jackets and Penguins exhibition opener looked and felt very much like an exhibition opener. Sloppy turnovers. Guys skating into each other. The house was sparsely filled. But a feisty third period took on the feel of something from the early part of the regular season. November maybe. The Blue Jackets won 5-4 in overtime -- rookie defenseman Ryan Murray scored the game-winner with 21.2 seconds left -- after coming back from 1-0 2-1 and 3-2 deficits. "We started slow" said Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu who had a goal and an assist. "We weren't giving ourselves a chance to work. We were really sloppy with pucks knocking some rust off. "But the pace was high. There were some battles out there. They make you work." Artem Anisimov Cam Atkinson and James Wisniewski also scored for the Blue Jackets while R.J. Umberger had two assists. Goaltender Curtis McElhinney started for the Blue Jackets and stopped 24 of 26 shots in the first two periods. Oscar Dansk stopped 9 of 11 in the third period. Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards wasn't pleased. Late in his post-game press conference he said: "I don't want to be overly negative here." But he didn't like the pace in the first two periods. It was the Evgeni Malkin and James Neal show for Pittsburgh in the first two periods essentially a 40-minute advertisement for Neal that yes Dan Bylsma he would really like to play with Malkin this season. "I was disappointed in our intensity" Richards said. "I thought we got outworked. I thought we got outcompeted. Our third period was good especially after the two fights (by defensemen Ilari Melart and James Wisniewski. It brought the intensity up. "Pittsburgh has won. They know what it takes to win. To me we weren't nearly as focused as we needed to be." Late in the second Pittsburgh had a 24-11 shot advantage. That doesn't count the four (or was it five?) shots that clanged off the post behind McElhinney. Neal could have had a hat trick with some puck luck.
A Scrappy, Sloppy Win for Blue Jackets over Penguins
Columbus Dispatch | Sep 16