PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins registered three goals in less than five minutes in the second period to roll to a 4-2 victory over Metropolitan Division opponents the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday at the Consol Energy Center.
The two teams will face-off again Saturday night in Columbus, but Pittsburgh decisively won round one, chasing last year's Vezina-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in the second after making just 10 saves on 13 shots.
The Penguins got on the board first at 7:11 of the first, just six seconds into their first power-play opportunity of the night. Sidney Crosby won the faceoff back to Paul Martin, who fired a slap shot from the right point. The shot was headed right to the chest of Bobrovsky, but Chris Kunitz was able to tip the shot with the shaft of his stick from the high slot and redirect it past the Blue Jackets netminder to give the Penguins an early 1-0 lead.
The goal extended Kunitz's goal scoring streak to three. Crosby picked up the secondary assist to extend his lead in the NHL scoring race and his scoring streak against Columbus to six consecutive games.
The Blue Jackets threw everything they had at Marc-Andre Fleury during a late first period power play, but the Penguins goaltender made several spectacular saves to keep Columbus scoreless at the first intermission.
Just as the Penguins scored early in the first, they repeated the script in the second, scoring just 1:10 in. Brandon Sutter came streaking down the right wing and took a wrist shot from the faceoff circle that snuck through the legs of Bobrovsky. It was Sutter's second tally of the season and second in as many games.
The Penguins went ahead by three less than two minutes later while working with a man-advantage. Kris Letang took a half-slapper that tipped off the glove of Bobrovsky and trickled over the goal line before he could grab it.
The Blue Jackets changed goaltenders after the third Pittsburgh goal, but the results were the same. The route was on when rookie Jayson Megna, standing uncontested to the left of the Columbus net, shoveled in the rebound of a Jussi Jokinen shot at 5:34 of the second to give Pittsburgh a 4-0 lead.
Columbus ruined Fleury's shutout bid at 9:56 of the second when Nick Foligno made a backhand, cross-crease pass to a breaking Derek MacKenzie. Letang attempted to tie up MacKenzie's stick, but was unable to do so as the Columbus center was able to get just enough of the puck to knock it in for his first of the season.
The Blue Jackets tallied again with less than a minute to go when Ryan Johansen wristed one by Fleury, but the goal accomplished little more than creating something for the Blue Jackets to build off of going into Saturday's tilt.
Fleury made 37 saves to earn his league-leading 10th victory.
NOTES: Pittsburgh captain C Sidney Crosby was named the NHL's second star for October. During the month, Crosby accumulated 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) to lead the NHL. ... It was on this date in 1996 that Columbus Hockey Limited submitted an application and a $100,000 fee to the NHL office in an effort to attract an expansion team to Ohio. ... Pittsburgh C Dustin Jeffrey is two games shy of 100 for his NHL career. ... Columbus RW Jared Boll is two games shy of 400 for his NHL career. ... Scratches for the Penguins were D Rob Scuderi (broken ankle), RW Chuck Kobasew (lower body) and RW Matt D'Agostini. Scratches for the Blue Jackets were D Nikita Nikitin and C Boone Jenner (lower body). ... The official attendance was 18,620, Pittsburgh's 295th consecutive sellout.