November 25, 2018 / 3:15 AM / 22 days ago

Guentzel nets 1st career hat trick as Penguins win

Jake Guentzel picked up his first career regular-season hat trick Saturday to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 in a Metropolitan Division matchup.

Tanner Pearson also scored, Kris Letang had three assists and Sidney Crosby had two assists for Pittsburgh, which is 3-7-3 in its past 13 games but has points in four straight.

The Penguins have won six in a row against the Blue Jackets.

Pittsburgh goalie Casey DeSmith stopped 37 of 39 Columbus shots.

Scott Harrington and Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus, which was 6-1-1 in its previous eight games.

Joonas Korpisalo made 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Harrington, a former Penguin, scored his fourth career goal for a 1-0 Columbus lead at 5:14 of the first period. His shot from the slot grazed DeSmith’s left arm.

Pearson tied it just 45 seconds later. Evgeni Malkin won a faceoff to Korpisalo’s right, with the puck going to Phil Kessel, who quickly fed Pearson for a shot off the goaltender’s left pad. All three of Pearson’s goals this season have come in the past four games.

Guentzel got his night started 1:28 later to give Pittsburgh the lead for good. Crosby, down low, fed Guentzel with a backhand pass.

Those two hooked up on a similar play at 16:31 of the first, Crosby again using his backhand to set up Guentzel to make it 3-1.

Crosby and Guentzel, part of the Penguins’ top line, were playing without right winger Patric Hornqvist, who sustained a concussion a night earlier.

Atkinson extended his goal streak to seven games, longest in the NHL this season, to cut it to 3-2 at 13:04 of the second. He snapped a shot past defenseman Olli Maatta and under DeSmith’s pads.

Guentzel completed his hat trick at 15:54 of the second, this time on a rebound, for his team-leading 11th goal and a 4-2 Pittsburgh edge.

The Blue Jackets’ Alexander Wennberg (incidental goalie interference) and the Penguins’ Kessel (offsides) had potential goals waived off in the second period.

—Field Level Media

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