Although it was not nearly as pretty as the previous day's game against Tampa Bay, the Pittsburgh Penguins were able to take care of business and down the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 in Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon.
Making his first career NHL start, goalie Brad Thiessen made 21 saves on 23 shots and picked the win while being named first star of the game.
With the score tied 1-1 after two periods, the Penguins would take the lead on a Pascal Dupuis goal at the 5:50 mark of the third.
The Penguins appeared to have increased the lead to 3-1 on a Kris Letang power play goal at the 9:22 mark but was disallowed on controversial goalie interference call. Letang would get his goal moments later as he blistered another shot past Curtis Sanford.
After sleepwalking through much of the first two periods of the game, the Pittsburgh Penguins finally had a breakthrough from a familiar source, as Evgeni Malkin's 37th goal of the season tied the game 1-1.
The Penguins trailed 1-0 after Rick Nash, who is most likely playing in his last game as a member of the Blue Jackets, scored a shorthanded goal at the 9:49 mark of the period.
After the first period did not see a single power play opportunity for either team, the Blue Jackets went 0-for-3 with a man advantage in the third, while the Penguins went 1-for-2.
The equalizing tally came with just 48 seconds remaining in the period, as Malkin was able to beat Sanford with a pass from Kunitz on a Columbus turnover.
The Penguins hold a 26-15 advantage in shots.
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Making his NHL debut, Penguin goalie Brad Thiessen stopped all five of the shots he faced and looked comfortable in net, but a lack of offense from the Blue Jackets has helped.
Jack Johnson, who is making his debut with Columbus after being traded from Los Angeles, has registered one hit and one blocked shot.
The Penguins are dominating the shots totals, as expected, outshooting the Jackets 15-5. The Pens also had one of the best scoring opportunities of the period when Columbus goalie Curtis Sanford stopped a Chris Kunitz-Evgeni Malkin 2-on-1 rush.
Neither team saw any power play action in the first.
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Shelly Anderson reports that Brad Thiessen will make his first-ever NHL start Sunday afternoon as the Penguins take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Thiessen is in his second brief stint with the team in the past couple weeks, this time because backup goalie Brent Johnson is injured. (There is nothing wrong with starter Marc-Andre Fleury — the Penguins simply want to give him a day off.)
As NHL debuts go, a game against the Blue Jackets is a pretty soft one. Seth Rorabaugh jokes:
Thiessen getting the start. He’s used to AHL level competition.
Burn! Anyway, Thiessen has spent most of the season splitting goaltending duties with Scott Munroe at Wilkes-Barre / Scranton. Thiessen has played 37 games and has a goals against average of 2.88, with a save percentage of .885.
For more on the Penguins, be sure to check out PensBurgh. For more on the Blue Jackets, there’s The Cannon.