for this game

Letang provides offense as Penguins top Blue Jackets

Feb 7, 2009 - 5:23 AM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Defenseman Kris Letang went on the offensive Friday.

Letang scored a pair of goals as the Pittsburgh Penguins skated to a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Captain Sidney Crosby netted a goal and set up two others and Petr Sykora also tallied for Pittsburgh, which has won three straight home games and five of six at Mellon Arena.

"We got a good, complete game," Crosby said. "We got a couple of good goals there in the second (period), but at the same time, the consistency was there, for the most part. So it was just a matter of putting the puck in the net."

Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves for the Penguins, who improved to 3-3-1 over their last seven overall.

"I thought the guys did a good job in front of me," Fleury said. "I think if we can get some consistency, we can get a little more confident and get some wins."

Blue-liner Fedor Tyutin scored the lone goal for Columbus, which has dropped three in a row.

"I just don't think we're competing nearly hard enough to score," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're not competing to score goals. I think that's a major reason we're not controlling the game in the offensive zone."

Entering with just three tallies in 48 games this season, Letang opened the scoring in this one.

"He's hitting the net more," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "There's a lot of times earlier this season where he took away quality chances. The confidence is there, obviously. He scored two nice goals, but you don't want to cheat defensively.

"I want to make sure he's playing very well. He has an important role for us. He's killing penalties, he's playing against good players. He's getting very comfortable, and it's a good sign for a young player."

Following a scoreless first period, Letang attempted a backhand pass from the bottom of the left faceoff circle during a power play that was blocked. The 21-year-old regained possession of the puck and unleashed a shot from below the end line that found its way past goaltender Wade Dubielewicz at 5:33, giving Pittsburgh a 1-0 edge.

"I want to make sure I don't put my team in trouble when I go in the offensive zone," Letang said. "I just like to find a good time to jump. If it's not there, I won't force it because I might put my team into trouble."

Sykora doubled the lead just 3:02 later. Standing in the slot, the Czech redirected defenseman Brooks Orpik's pass from the left circle by Dubielewicz for his 21st goal of the season.

"They get a power-play goal and it seems like there's a panic in our play," Columbus defenseman Jan Hejda said. "It happens sometimes."

Letang, who recorded his first career two-goal performance in a 6-2 triumph over the New York Rangers on January 28, made it 3-0 with 4:52 remaining in the session.

Crosby carried the puck into the offensive zone and shuffled a no-look pass to Letang in the left circle. Letang walked in and picked his spot, firing a wrist shot that beat Dubielewicz to the stick side.

"He made two nice shots there, and he's handling the puck well," Crosby said. "We look a lot to him to make plays out of our zone but smart jumping in, so when he trusts his instincts and goes in when it's necessary, he creates a lot."

Tyutin got Columbus on the scoreboard during a power play at 9:44 of the third, extending his goal-scoring streak to three games in the process.

Standing in the right corner, Kristian Huselius attempted to dish the puck to Fredrik Modin on the doorstep. However, the puck went through and landed on the stick of Tyutin, who fired it past Fleury for his career-high seventh tally of the campaign.

But that was all the Blue Jackets were able to get by Fleury, who made a number of stellar saves throughout the game, including a fantastic left toe stop on Derek Dorsett with 2:43 remaining in the second period.

"A guy like Fleury makes some key saves that you need to keep confidence and stay focused," Therrien said. "He definitely made some key saves at the right time."

Crosby sealed the win with an empty-netter in the final minute of the third.

Making his first start for Columbus since being claimed off waivers from the New York Islanders on January 17, Dubielewicz turned aside 21 shots.

"I felt OK, but it's just tough when you're on the road and you give up that first goal like that," Dubielewicz said. "It takes the wind out of the guys, especially when we're playing pretty well. It's pretty disappointing."






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    Blue Jackets 1, Penguins 4  FinalFeb 7 8:39 AM
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    Blue Jackets 1, Penguins 4  FinalFeb 7 3:13 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 0 0 1 1
    PITTSBURGH 0 3 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) KRISTOPHER LETANG 4 (SIDNEY CROSBY, RYAN WHITNEY)
    5:33
    PIT - PETR SYKORA 21 (BROOKS ORPIK, EVGENI MALKIN) 8:35
    PIT - KRISTOPHER LETANG 5 (SIDNEY CROSBY, MAXIME TALBOT)
    15:08
    3RD PRD: COB - (P

    Feb 6 10:02 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    PITTSBURGH 4
    3RD PRD: PIT - (EN) SIDNEY CROSBY 21 (PASCAL DUPUIS, HAL GILL) 19:27

    Blue Jackets 1, Penguins 4  3rd - 0:33Feb 6 9:58 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    PITTSBURGH 3
    3RD PRD: COB - (PP) FEDOR TYUTIN 7 (KRISTIAN HUSELIUS, MANNY MALHOTRA)
    9:44

    Blue Jackets 1, Penguins 3  3rd - 10:16Feb 6 9:41 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 0 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 3 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) KRISTOPHER LETANG 4 (SIDNEY CROSBY, RYAN WHITNEY)
    5:33
    PIT - PETR SYKORA 21 (BROOKS ORPIK, EVGENI MALKIN) 8:35
    PIT - KRISTOPHER LETANG 5 (SIDNEY CROSBY, MAXIME TALBOT)
    15:08
    SHOT

    Feb 6 9:07 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 0
    PITTSBURGH 3
    2ND PRD: PIT - KRISTOPHER LETANG 5 (SIDNEY CROSBY, MAXIME TALBOT)
    15:08

    Blue Jackets 0, Penguins 3  2nd - 4:52Feb 6 9:00 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 0
    PITTSBURGH 2
    2ND PRD: PIT - PETR SYKORA 21 (BROOKS ORPIK, EVGENI MALKIN) 8:35

    Blue Jackets 0, Penguins 2  2nd - 11:25Feb 6 8:46 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 0
    PITTSBURGH 1
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) KRISTOPHER LETANG 4 (SIDNEY CROSBY, RYAN WHITNEY)
    5:33

    Blue Jackets 0, Penguins 1  2nd - 14:27Feb 6 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COB 15 15
    PIT 9 9
    GOALIES: COB - WADE DUBIELEWICZ
    PIT - MARC-ANDRE FLEURY

    Feb 6 8:12 PM
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