Penguins demolish Blue Jackets, earn Sullivan first win


On Monday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 to earn Mike Sullivan his first win as a head coach.

The Blue Jackets struck first for the night, with their first goal coming in the fifth minute of the first period from Alexander Wennberg.

The game was a little more aggressive than your average NHL game right from the start, but the Pens were able to prevail. The goons of the Blue Jackets, headed by Brandon Dubinsky, were out in full form tonight taking advantage of every moment the refs weren’t looking. Finally, it was Eric Fehr who had enough of it on the Pens end and a fight commenced. Fehr unfortunately didn’t really get the upper-hand in his first NHL fight, and the cheap hits continued the rest of the night from the Jackets.

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At the end of the first period, the main highlight of the Pens came from Ian Cole breaking the glass. The Penguins knew they needed to step their game up big time in the second to not look like fools, and that is exactly what they did.

It was a wrister from Evgeni Malkin just three minutes into the second that got the Pens moving in the right direction, and from there it was game on.

It would be Phil Kessel who would take over for the Penguins, scoring back to back goals to record his 10th and 11th for the season.

Pittsburgh would then go on to earn themselves another power-play, an area they have struggled to convert on so far this year. However, David Warsofsky would rise to the challenge with a sniper shot from the blue line to give the Penguins a four to one lead.

Halfway through the second, Boone Jenner would take out Malkin in a knee-to-knee hit. Malkin got up and limped to the locker room, but would luckily return to the game a few minutes later looking okay out on the ice.

It was Jenner who would start to try and turn things around for the Blue Jackets in the third, with a goal to cut the lead to 4-2.

The Blue Jackets would get a power-play opportunity in the third, but the Pens penalty kill unit was able to hold them from getting a goal off of Ben Lovejoy‘s penalty, a big confidence booster heading into the final minutes of regulation.

Malkin would go on to score an empty netter with 1:30 left in play to put the nail in the coffin.

The best goaltender of the AHL Matthew Murray made his second start in the NHL, following his great performance against the Hurricanes for the Pens. Murray recorded 22 saves for the night to help out the win, proving his worth to the team on only his second night out.

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Sullivan’s Penguins will take a much needed break and return to the ice the day after Christmas, and will face the Minnesota Wild at 8:00 PM EST.