Penguins defeat Blue Jackets in preseason home opener
The Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-1, in a preseason game at PPG Paints Arena Thursday.
A power-play goal by new forward Alex Galchenyuk opened the scoring at 6:28 of the first period. Defenseman Justin Schultz moved the puck from the left point to forward Jake Guentzel on the right wall. Guentzel surveyed the offensive zone and dealt a cross-ice pass to Galchenyuk. He then gripped and ripped a wrister to the far side past the glove hand of goaltender Elvis Merzlikins. Assists went to Guentzel and Schultz.
Columbus evened the score at 7:58 of the second period. Collecting a puck behind the net, Blue Jackets forward Kevin Stenlund chopped it to the right of left of the crease past Penguins defenseman David Warsofsky. Forward Sonny Milano was able to draw in the puck and fire a wrister past the glove hand of goaltender Matt Murray from only 14 feet.
Guentzel restored the Penguins’ lead at 12:26 of the second. After forward Evgeni Malkin backhanded a bouncing pass off the right wing to the slot, Guentzel was able to settle the puck enough to whack a fluttering forehand shot which glanced off the left shoulder of Columbus goaltender Veini Vehvilainen and into the cage. Malkin and Schultz netted assists.
They made it a two-goal lead at the 6:03 mark in the third. Forward prospect Sam Lafferty won a faceoff in the Blue Jackets’ right circle, won a puck battle with help from forward Kasper Bjorkqvist and dug it free for Nathan Legare, the team’s third-round draft pick this year. Legare fired a wrister that beat Vehvilainen. Assists went to Lafferty and Kasper Bjorkvist.
Legare netted his second goal of the contest 23 seconds later. Bjorkqvist forced Columbus defenseman Gabriel Carlsson into a turnover in Columbus’ right circle and the puck slid to the slot where Legare boomed it past Vehvilainen.
Murray made 27 saves in the victory.
The Penguins improved their preseason mark to 1-0-1. Their next preseason game will be in Columbus on Saturday, 2 p.m.
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .