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Zatkoff wins 1st as Pens continue to roll

USA Today Sports - In this file photo from November 2013, Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff deflects a shot by Blue Jackets winger Nick Foligno at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Zatkoff and forward Jayson Megna were recalled in advance of tonight's game tonight against the Washington Capitals because backup goaltender Thomas Greiss and forward Steve Downie have the mumps.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>In this file photo from November 2013, Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff deflects a shot by Blue Jackets winger Nick Foligno at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Zatkoff and forward Jayson Megna were recalled in advance of tonight's game tonight against the Washington Capitals because  backup goaltender Thomas Greiss and forward Steve Downie have the mumps.
USA Today Sports - Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney makes a save against the Penguins during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney makes a save against the Penguins during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today Sports - Penguins defenseman Kris Letang takes the puck away from the Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins defenseman Kris Letang takes the puck away from the Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
AP - The Penguins' Kris Letang (left) and the Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger fight for a loose puck during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Penguins' Kris Letang (left) and the Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger fight for a loose puck during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
AP - The Blue Jackets' Nick Foligno carries the puck across the blue line as the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin defends during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Blue Jackets' Nick Foligno carries the puck across the blue line as the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin defends during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
AP - The Penguins' Kris Letang (left) and the Blue Jackets' Jared Boll chase a loose puck during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Penguins' Kris Letang (left) and the Blue Jackets' Jared Boll chase a loose puck during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today Sports - Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) chops at the stick of Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) chops at the stick of Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today Sports - Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney deflects a shot by Penguins right wing Pascal Dupuis during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney deflects a shot by Penguins right wing Pascal Dupuis during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today Sports - Penguins center Sidney Crosby skates into the Blue Jackets' zone as defenseman Nikita Nikitin approaches during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins center Sidney Crosby skates into the Blue Jackets' zone as defenseman Nikita Nikitin approaches during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
AP - The Blue Jackets' Fedor Tyutin checks the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Blue Jackets' Fedor Tyutin checks the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
AP - The Penguins' Sidney Crosby (left) and the Blue Jackets' Ryan Murray fight for a loose puck during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Penguins' Sidney Crosby (left) and the Blue Jackets' Ryan Murray fight for a loose puck during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today Sports - Penguins center Evgeni Malkin kicks the puck during the first period against the Blue Jackets Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins center Evgeni Malkin kicks the puck during the first period against the Blue Jackets Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today Sports - The Penguins celebrate after defeating the Blue Jackets, 3-0, on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>The Penguins celebrate after defeating the Blue Jackets, 3-0, on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today Sports - Penguins center Evgeni Malkin fights for the puck with Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin during the third period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins center Evgeni Malkin fights for the puck with Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin during the third period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today Sports - Penguins left wing Tanner Glass flips the puck past the Blue Jackets' Dalton Prout on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins left wing Tanner Glass flips the puck past the Blue Jackets' Dalton Prout on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
AP - The Penguins' Paul Martin carries the puck up ice as the Blue Jackets' Derek MacKenzie defends during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Penguins' Paul Martin carries the puck up ice as the Blue Jackets' Derek MacKenzie defends during the first period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
AP - The Penguins' Jeff Zatkoff makes a save as teammate Robert Bortuzzo and the Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger fight for position in front of the net during the third period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Penguins' Jeff Zatkoff makes a save as teammate Robert Bortuzzo and the Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger fight for position in front of the net during the third period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

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Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 9:48 p.m.
 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jeff Zatkoff did not see many shots Saturday night.

He stopped the ones he did, though, and as the Penguins' regular goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, said, “Who cares? Jeff got his win, and that's awesome.”

Equally impressive was the Penguins' defensive performance in a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Zatkoff made 19 saves for his first NHL victory — a shutout in front of a few members of an inner circle that he said is “from all over” the Ohio and Michigan areas.

Last week, in his second start, Zatkoff watched a Penguins' lead evaporate late in the third period of an eventual loss to the New York Islanders.

A lesson was learned.

“I was so worried about getting that win that I kind of stopped, lost a little focus,” Zatkoff said. “(Saturday) I just kept telling myself it's about the process: minute by minute, shot by shot. I tried not to look at the clock, just make saves. I don't think I looked up until that last timeout at about two minutes.

“It was a pretty long two minutes.”

It could be a long season for the Penguins' competition in the new Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins (11-4-0, 22 points) have won four consecutive games and are 6-1-0 in the division. The are seven points ahead of the second-place Islanders and 10 points clear of the third and final guaranteed playoff spot.

Players are quick to remind there is a lot of hockey left. Still, the Penguins already have wrapped about 18 percent of their 82-game schedule.

They also wrapped a home-and-home series sweep against a Blue Jackets squad that did not benefit from a home-ice advantage. A sellout crowd sounded half-full — at least — with Penguins fans, who provided their players a standing ovation as the final horn sounded.

Goals were scored by defenseman Deryk Engelland (his second) and wingers Chris Kunitz (eighth) and Jussi Jokinen (seventh).

Engelland's goal about seven minutes in the second period resulted from a quick-release shot that seemed to surprise him.

“I didn't really see where it was going, I was still looking down,” Engelland said, crediting center Joe Vitale with a pass from below the goal line. “He put it right on my tape. I just fired it.”

Engelland has played in nine games, but seven of those have been as a forward.

Coach Dan Bylsma laughed as he said two goals were not expected as part of the decision to use Engelland, a physical presence, at forward.

“He's looked pretty comfortable in those situations,” Bylsma said. “He looked like a pure sniper putting that one home.”

Bylsma's skaters looked like a steel trap, a noticeable turnaround after the Blue Jackets became only the second Penguins' opponent to top 60 shot attempts in a loss at Consol Energy Center on Friday night.

Columbus managed 40 in this defeat.

“A complete effort, and I think every guy would say it was one of his better games individually,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said.

The Penguins blocked 15 shots — only four fewer than saves Zatkoff was forced to make.

A native of Detroit and collegiate player at Miami (Ohio), Zatkoff was appreciative of teammates' effort.

“Anytime you play more … you're going to learn how the team plays in front of you,” he said. “The guys played unreal.”

Notes: Right winger Beau Bennett (lower body) will return to practice Monday. He was injured Oct. 12. … Right winger James Neal (upper body) could increase his activity this week, Bylsma said. Neal was injured Oct. 3.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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