Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Eastern Quarterfinal Game 4: Blue Jackets 4, Penguins 3 a Late Meltdown Penguins Surrender the Tying Goal with 22.5 Seconds Left, Lose in Ot

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Eastern Quarterfinal Game 4: Blue Jackets 4, Penguins 3 a Late Meltdown Penguins Surrender the Tying Goal with 22.5 Seconds Left, Lose in Ot

Article excerpt

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Get into the playoffs, and you're going to lose games.

They all hurt.

Sometimes, the defeats really sting.

And every now and then, there's one that absolutely scalds.

One like the Penguins' 4-3 overtime loss to Columbus Wednesday night at Nationwide Arena, when they allowed an early 3-0 lead to mutate into a defeat that has tied their first-round series against the Blue Jackets, 2-2, heading into Game 5 at 7:08 p.m. Saturday night at Consol Energy Center.

There's a two-day break before they face Columbus again. Whether that's enough time for the Penguins to shake off the effects of this loss remains to be seen.

"We don't have a choice," defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "We let another one slip away. We're making it harder on ourselves than we need to, but I don't think we need to pout about it now."

Nick Foligno of the Blue Jackets scored the winning goal at 2:49 of the extra period, when his long-range shot knuckled past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Foligno had predicted to his teammates that he would end the game, telling them after the third period that "I hope you don't mind, I'm going to score," and it didn't take him long to make good on his call.

"Next time Nick does that, he has to tell me before the overtime," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "Because I'll play him a lot."

Foligno got a chance to be the hero only because the Blue Jackets had scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to complete their comeback from a 3-0 deficit.

Fleury, who made 39 saves in regulation and was the main reason the Penguins were in position to take a 3-1 edge in the series, went behind his net to stop a puck that had been sent around the boards, only to have it hop over his stick.

Columbus center Ryan Johansen got control of the puck and fed it to Brandon Dubinsky, who tossed it past a lunging Fleury from near the right hash to force overtime.

The Penguins, who have failed to protect multiple-goal leads in each of their defeats, have more than a few issues to deal with over the balance of the series, but Fleury's teammates say they aren't concerned about how he will cope with the way Game 4 ended. …

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