Blue Jackets make history with win


PITTSBURGH -- Changing the course of history is hard. Sometimes it takes a long time. And sometimes it feels like history is thumbing its nose at you, laughing behind your back.

But when it happens, when history is re-written, when it is made, it sure is sweet.

Just ask the Columbus Blue Jackets who earned their first-ever postseason victory Saturday night by beating the favored Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in double overtime.

And the Jackets didn't just even this Eastern Conference quarterfinal at one game apiece; they won the hard way, climbing out of a 3-1 deficit and killing off seven of eight Pittsburgh power plays, including two in overtime.

"I think that the confidence of a young team is getting built from little successes that you have along the way. This was a big step for us. Now we just got to enjoy it a little bit and put it behind us. Go for the next one," Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen told after Matt Calvert carved a place in Blue Jackets lore by slapping home his own rebound just 1:10 into the second overtime period.

The winner came just 37 seconds after the Blue Jackets killed off the final 33 seconds of Blake Comeau's third minor penalty of the evening.

"That's what we do, we never give up on pucks. I think that's our M.O. We forecheck hard. We get some greasy goals at times but we work for them and I think we were well-rewarded tonight because we stuck with it. We were in a bit of a tough situation in the second period and we just kept playing, kept going and we got a split in Pittsburgh and that's what we wanted," Calvert said.

"You always dream about being the hero in overtime. I think it's real special for our organization tonight, our first career [playoff] win. And we battled for it. It didn't come easy. We were down a couple of goals at different times. Penalty kill was great when it had to be. It was just a great feeling."

In some ways the Calvert goal and the entire evening were microcosms of the Blue Jackets' season: A group of guys banging away and not taking no for an answer, even if "no" appears to be exactly what's being said.

"Just the way we came back is almost like our season in one game. We're sort of getting behind the eight ball and we fight back and we battle back, we don't quit and we keep playing hard and we get rewarded in the end. That's our game," Kekalainen said.

Through the first period it seemed that this game and maybe the series itself was going to get completely away from the Blue Jackets.

The Penguins, as many had predicted, came with a much more focused effort than in Game 1 when they struggled early at home, falling behind 3-1 before tying the game with a couple of quick power-play goals and ultimately coming away with a 4-3 win.

From the get-go on Saturday, the Penguins were faster, more determined and dominated the Blue Jackets.

Brian Gibbons had a Matt Niskanen shot go into the net off his torso 3:30 into the game and then blazed around James Wisniewski for a shorthanded goal less than a minute later.

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