The Columbus Blue Jackets learned a valuable lesson about NHL hockey on Friday night-it’s dangerous to ‘sit on a lead’ and particularly against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Down 3-1, Pittsburgh tied the game late in the third period as Ruslan Fedotenko and Alex Goligoski each lit the lamp with less than three minutes remaining. After a scoreless overtime period, Sidney Crosby scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Penguins an improbable 4-3 victory. It was the 9th win in ten games for Pittsburgh, who are a perfect 6-0-0 on the road. Columbus lost for the fifth time in six games after a 5-1 start to the NHL season.
NHL hockey betting enthusiasts cashed wagers on the road underdog Penguins, but on the moneyline at +117 and the puckline. Pittsburgh has gotten off to a great start this year, going 11-2-0 in the first month of the season. Columbus is struggling to stay above .500 at 6-5-1. The 7 combined goals scored went OVER the posted total of 5′. The Blue Jackets have gone OVER in 7 of 12 games this season, while the Penguins have a NHL totals mark of 5-7-1.
Crosby’s game winning score in overtime wasn’t exactly the stuff of highlight reels, with the puck barely trickling over the line:
“It was kind of a fluky. The puck kept going. I don’t know if he lost it or he didn’t know where it was or whatever. I just tried a quick shot. I thought he had the save there. It just trickled in.”
Jackets’ goalie Steve Mason gave this version of events:
“It hit my stick and I didn’t get it settled until it was over the line. It just trickled over and I was too late on it.”
Penguins’ left winger Chris Kunitz scored a shorthanded goal and praised the leadership abilities of team captain Crosby:
“It shows a lot of character from our captain. He goes out and he’s never quitting on anything. Sometimes a team goes packing, down by two with 3 minutes left. But he goes out, he’s on the bench, he’s saying, ‘Let’s get the next one.’ So we go out there and he finds himself the puck and he gets it to Goligoski, he gets a great shot and puts it in the net to get us to overtime.”
Columbus’ Rick Nash suggested that his team is having trouble ‘closing out’ games:
“We’re not closing games. We got the lead in a lot of the games already and just can’t seem to close it out. They are the defending Stanley Cup champions. You can tell why they’re such a good team. We are a team that needs to learn how to play with the lead.”
Pittsburgh will host Minnesota on Saturday night before heading to southern California next week for games against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. Columbus will play at Washington on Sunday before hosting the San Jose Sharks next Wednesday. That’ll be followed by a game in Atlanta against the Thrashers the next night.
Ross Everett is a freelance writer and highly respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.