Blue Jackets clinch playoff spot despite OT loss to Pens
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Phil Kessel scored 1:06 into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins earned a 5-4 victory on Thursday night over the Columbus Blue Jackets, who still clinched a playoff spot for the second consecutive season.
Columbus entered the game needing one point in the standings and earned that when it forced the overtime.
Conor Sheary tied the game at 12:16 in the third period to set up the overtime winner by Kessel, whose shot from the left circle was his second goal of the game and 33rd of the season.
The Penguins completed a 4-0 season sweep of the Blue Jackets in a tight back-and-forth game before a vocal sellout crowd.
Patric Hornqvist and Kris Letang also scored, and Matt Murray had 26 saves for Pittsburgh.
Zach Werenski, Matt Calvert, Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 38 saves.
Werenski put the Blue Jackets up 1-0 five minutes into the game when he gathered a centering pass from Pierre Luc-Dubois and backhanded the puck between Murray and the near post. Kessel went top shelf over Bobrovsky on a power play to tie it at the halfway point of the first period.
A few minutes later, Calvert danced around Penguins defenseman Olli Maata and lifted a shot over Murray's shoulder. Hornqvist knotted it again at 15:35 when he batted a bouncing puck past Bobrovsky's glove.
The Blue Jackets scored on a power play in the second period when Jenner connected from the slot off a sweet centering pass from Thomas Vanek.
Early in the third period, Pittsburgh tied the score yet again when Letang clanged one in off the top bar from the right circle. Atkinson made it 4-3 when he poked a shot in from the doorstep 8:25 into the third.
Sheary tied the score again, with Bobrovsky inadvertently batting in a puck that was bouncing around in the crease.
NOTES: Pierre-Luc Dubois tied Zach Werenski's rookie single-season point record with 47 and pushed his point streak to a career-high eight games. ... Artemi Panarin, with an assist on Weresnki's goal, also has a five-game point streak. He has a franchise-best 81 points this season. ... Hornqvist has four goals in the past four games. ... Columbus defenseman Markus Nutivaara missed his second game with an upper-body injury. ... Columbus F Josh Anderson returned after missing 17 games with a knee injury. ... Pittsburgh F Derick Brassard missed his fourth game with a lower-body injury.
Pittsburgh: Hosts Ottawa on Friday night to finish the regular season.
Columbus: Ends regular season on Saturday night at Nashville.