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Penguins rally from 3-1 deficit to take Game 3

The SportsXchange

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It took barely two minutes for the Pittsburgh Penguins to awaken and take charge of their first-round series with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Trailing 3-1 and at risk of falling behind in the series against the upstart Blue Jackets, the Penguins got goals from center Brandon Sutter, right winger Lee Stempniak and right winger Jussi Jokinen and went on to a 4-3 win in Game 3 at Nationwide Arena.

"Not the start we were looking for, not at all," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "But I like the way we responded, and I like the way we played in the last part of that game, the final 45 minutes or so.

"We've talked about getting to that point of desperation right from the start. We didn't want to be in a hole like we faced there, but we came back with a desperate third."

The Penguins lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Wednesday in Nationwide.

The Blue Jackets also blew a 3-1 lead in Game 1.

"They started skating," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "I don't think it was a case of us taking our foot off the pedal, or anything like that. We kept going.

"It's not over until you lose four games. We've only lost two games. There's a long way to go."

The three goals were scored in a span of 2:13, putting the Penguins up 4-3 at 8:06 of the third.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik also scored for the Penguins.

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury overcame a shaky start to finish with 17 saves.

Center Boone Jenner, defenseman Jack Johnson and right winger Cam Atkinson scored for the Blue Jackets, and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 37 saves.

The Blue Jackets disappointed a crowd of 19,148 -- the fourth-largest ever in Nationwide Arena -- who were witnessing the first playoff game in Columbus in five years.

"The crowd was great, and that makes it tougher," Blue Jackets right wing R.J. Umberger said. "The deserved a win tonight."

The Blue Jackets, who won the franchise's first playoff game on Saturday in Pittsburgh, seemed in line to make it two straight until the wheels came off early in the third period.

Less than five minutes after the Blue Jackets took a 3-1 lead, Sutter redirected a shot through traffic by Penguins defenseman Paul Martin to make it 3-2.

The lead was gone only 70 seconds later when Stempniak got free in the right circle and roofed the puck over Bobrovsky's left shoulder.

Only 1:03 later, the Penguins had their first lead of the night when defenseman Olli Maatta sent in a shot that was wide of the goal before kicking off Jokinen's leg and into the net.

Suddenly, a party atmosphere in Nationwide became subdued because the Penguins dominated play in the third period.

At the midpoint of the third period, the Penguins had outshot the Blue Jackets 14-1. They finished with a 41-20 advantage.

NOTES: Blue Jackets LW Nick Foligno returned to the lineup after missing the final five games of the regular season and the first two games of the playoffs with a knee injury. Foligno, who had a career-high 18 goals this season, opened on the third line with C Artem Anisimov and RW R.J. Umberger. ... After getting burned by short-handed goals in each of the first two games, the Penguins went with a more standard setting on their top power play unit, using D Paul Martin and D Matt Niskanen on the points. In the first two games, they used four forwards, with only one defenseman on the point. ... Blue Jackets D Fedor Tyutin missed the game with an upper-body injury suffered in the first period of Saturday's Game 2. D David Savard moved up from the third pair to take Tyutin's spot next to D Jack Johnson on the top pair, and D Dalton Prout made his playoff debut. ... Penguins rookie C Brian Gibbons did not dress after suffering an undisclosed injury on Saturday. C Jayson Megna took his spot in the lineup.
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