PITTSBURGH — One dominant period was all the Penguins needed to take care of business against the Columbus Blue Jackets, winning, 4-1, Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena.
They started slow, but with three goals in the second period the Penguins powered past the last-place Blue Jackets, who were without three of their top defensemen, including a two-time All-Star in Zach Werenski, in this Metro Division tilt.
Sidney Crosby, who has been battling an illness, buried two goals on Tuesday.
It was their third straight win. They finished the homestand with a 3-1-1 record.
Johnny Gaudreau scored for the Blue Jackets on the game’s first shot. Crouched low, Tristan Jarry let Gaudreau snap his sharp-angle shot over his glove.
It didn’t get much better for the Penguins in the final 19 minutes of the first. They had difficulty getting the puck out of their zone and possessed the puck inside Blue Jackets territory for just 49 seconds during that period, per Sportlogiq.
But the Penguins would flip the game on its ear within a span of 47 seconds.
Bryan Rust tied the score at 1-1 early in the second period. A mosh pit formed in front of Elvis Merzlikins and Rust skidded in to tuck the puck between his pads. It was the second goal in as many games for Rust, who has his mojo back.
Then Crosby swatted a rebound past Merzlikins, while Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke planted him on his backside, to put the Penguins in front.
Crosby got his second goal on the power play. The finish was fluky but the setup was spectacular. Crosby swatted the puck out of midair to maintain possession. Evgeni Malkin danced around Jack Roslovic. Then Jake Guentzel slid a backdoor pass to Crosby. It hit a defender’s stick, glanced off Crosby and went in.