Sidney Crosby scored two goals, Brian Last scored for the second straight game, and the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Crosby pushed his goal total to 15 by defeating Elvis Melzrikins twice in the second period as the Penguins remained undefeated against Columbus in the Blue Jackets’ final 12 visits to the PPG Paint Arena. I was. Teddy Brueger added a second-half goal against Brueger’s teammate Melzlikins when he played for the Latvian national team, which packed Brueger early with a penalty shot.
Tristan Jarry conceded a goal for Johnny Gaudreau a minute into the game, but quickly calmed down. Jarry finished with 38 saves as he improved to 5-0 against Columbus.
Gaudreau’s ninth goal gave the Blue Jackets some early momentum, but the Penguins quickly overwhelmed Merzlikins in the final two periods.
The Penguins are on a three-game winning streak, but are without star defenseman Chris Letang, who suffered a stroke on November 28.
Pittsburgh is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games, going 10-2-2 after losing seven in a row in late October and early November. The Penguins have been steady behind Crosby and Jarry and haven’t lost regulation in a month.
While Pittsburgh is surging, the Blue Jackets are falling. Columbus dropped five of the six, largely thanks to an attack struggling to find the back of the net. The Blue Jackets have scored two goals or less in each loss.
Gaudreau’s sharp wrist shot from the left circle at 60 seemed to startle Jarry. Columbus controlled play for most of the first period.
It didn’t take long for the Penguins to reassert themselves in the second. Last, who returned to the locker room with problems late in the first period, had a 1:15 rebound in the second. After only one goal in 14 games so far, he scored the second goal in the same number of games.
Crosby gave the Penguins the lead 47 seconds later, dove into the slot and grab the rebound off a Jake Genzel shot. Crosby won 3-1 when he stood at the right post past the halfway point of the game and essentially deflected Genzel’s pass into the net in his second multi-goal game of the season.
The 35-year-old Crosby’s 15 goals are almost half the 31 he managed last season, putting him on 47-goal pace. He hasn’t scored more than 35 goals in a single season since leading the league with 44 goals in the 2016-17 season.
Blue Jackets: Wednesday host Buffalo.
Penguins: Start a home and home set with Buffalo on Friday when they visit the Sabres.
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