Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sidney Crosby has been going head-to-head with Brandon Dubinsky for almost his entire career, so he knew to expect a tough, competitive matchup when the pair faced off again Friday night in Columbus.
However, he couldn’t possibly have been ready for what happened late in the second period.
Dubinsky knocked Crosby out of the game briefly with a violent cross-check to the back of the neck, and the Blue Jackets beat the Penguins, 2-1, in overtime.
Dubinsky also set up Cam Atkinson for a one-timer from the left faceoff circle on the winning goal 2 minutes, 42 seconds into overtime.
The cross-checking incident occurred when Dubinsky was trying to move Crosby away from the front of the net on a power play with 1:20 left in the second period of a scoreless game. Crosby crumpled to the ice holding his head before going back to the locker room.
Crosby said he went through the NHL’s concussion protocol then returned for the start of the third period. Dubinsky received a minor penalty.
“Didn’t feel like (a minor penalty),” Crosby said. “I didn’t see it. Maybe it didn’t look as bad as it felt. The official’s there beside the net. It’s really up to him.”
Dubinsky, who will have a hearing with the NHL on Saturday about the incident, told the Columbus Dispatch his “stick rode up on him a little bit” on the play.
“I’m not surprised,” Crosby said. “If I was going to get one of those shots, it would probably be from him.”
The incident brought bad blood between the rivals to a boil.
Evgeni Malkin exchanged punches with defenseman Jack Johnson in the final minute of the second period. It was the Penguins’ first fighting major since Bobby Farnham tangled with Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki on Oct. 15.
Earlier in the period, Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist infuriated the Blue Jackets with a hard hit on winger Matt Calvert in the corner.
“You want to play those intense games,” Hornqvist said. “That was a fun game. Too bad we couldn’t win.”
The Penguins looked like they might get the last laugh when Malkin gave them a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 9:15 of the third.
He took a shot from the right faceoff circle, and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made the initial stop. Crosby’s blocked rebound bid bounced right back to Malkin, and he didn’t miss.
The Blue Jackets answered a little more than a minute later when Ryan Johansen scored on a bad-angle rebound bid.
Penguins coach Mike Johnston challenged the call on the grounds of goalie interference, and replays showed Scott Hartnell whack Marc-Andre Fleury with his stick before the puck went in. But after a review, referees called the goal good.
“He got a piece of my leg. I slipped on my push,” Fleury said. “I thought maybe it would have been (waved off).”
Fleury otherwise kept the Penguins in the game, making 41 saves. He held his ground as Columbus took 10 uninterrupted shots in the first period.
“They generated a lot of shots and got some momentum early in the game,” Johnston said. “I thought Flower was good there. He made some key saves at key moments in the game.
“I thought some of our chances, we just missed the net. We’ve got to bear down on some of our chances when we get those loose-puck opportunities in tight and in the slot.”