Penguins' Gibbons scores twice but leaves with apparent injury
Brian Gibbons was on the ice just 146 seconds of Game 2 of the Penguins' first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
He made the most of it.
Gibbons scored during half of the four full shifts he took and on both shots he attempted — all during the opening 4:24 of the game, giving the Penguins an early lead.
Gibbons' goals came 54 seconds apart — and 16 seconds of his ice time elapsed between the tallies.
He needed to be that efficient because he did not play after the 9:47 mark of the first period. Gibbons headed to the locker room after an apparent upper-body injury sustained during a collision with Columbus forward Brandon Dubinsky.
The Penguins did not immediately provide details of the nature or severity of the apparent injury.
A 26-year-old rookie, Gibbons was moved to the Penguins' top line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz after the first period of a 4-3 win in Game 1 Wednesday. From that time and until his injury, the Penguins outscored the Blue Jackets, 5-2.
The 5-foot-8 Gibbons earned his first career playoff goal 3:30 into Game 2 when a Matt Niskanen shot from the right point deflected off him as he stood in front of the crease, bewildering Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Thirty-eight seconds of game time later, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma summoned Gibbons again, this time to start a penalty kill after Joe Vitale was whistled for goalie interference.
Not long after the faceoff to the right of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, Paul Martin cleared the puck up the left side. The speedy Gibbons — Bylsma on Thursday called him the fastest player on the team — easily outran Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski to the puck and skated in alone on Bobrovsky down the left side.
The left-handed Gibbons deked backhand and quickly went to his forehand.
As Bobrovsky did a split, Gibbons slid the puck between his legs.
It was the type of goal in the type of situation Gibbons is adept at scoring. A persistent penalty killer who can make opposing point men anxious with his speed, Gibbons had three short-handed goals in just 28 games with the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this season. Counting his 2010-11 senior year at Boston College and his first two seasons with the AHL Penguins, Gibbons has 12 short-handed goals in his past four hockey seasons.
Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.
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