October 6, 2019 / 1:53 AM / 8 days ago

Penguins pummel Blue Jackets with big 2nd period

Jared McCann had two goals and an assist, and Patric Hornqvist also scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins ripped the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2 on Saturday.

Oct 5, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner (38) warms up before playing the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Pettersson, Kris Letang and Teddy Blueger added goals, and Alex Galchenyuk and Sidney Crosby had two assists each for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray made 28 saves.

Zach Werenski and Gustav Nyquist scored for Columbus. Elvis Merzlikins, making his NHL debut after playing in the Swiss League, stopped 33 of 40 Pittsburgh shots.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin left about midway through the second period with an apparent foot or leg injury after he tripped over Letang’s skate near center ice, slid into the boards and limped toward the locker room.

The Penguins had a busy second period, with five goals, the Malkin injury and a fight by Crosby.

Hornqvist gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 1:45 when he deflected a Jack Johnson point shot past Merzlikins.

At 4:14, Pettersson increased the lead to 2-0 when, moving in from the blue line, he converted a feed from Crosby.

Columbus cut it to 2-1 at 6:45 when Werenski lifted the puck over Murray’s left pad.

McCann moved from third-line winger to fill in for Malkin at second-line center, and the switch seemed to give McCann a spark.

At 8:45, he scored an unassisted goal off a two-on-one to boost Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-1.

The Blue Jackets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois hit the Penguins’ Jake Guentzel up high. There was no penalty, but Guentzel’s linemate, Crosby, took on Dubois in what mostly was a wrestling tussle at 15:09.

The Pittsburgh captain drew his eighth career fighting major — his first since Feb. 19, 2015, against Columbus’ Brandon Dubinsky.

McCann struck again at 15:23 from near the right hash marks to make it 4-1. The Penguins took a 5-1 lead with 1.2 seconds left in the second on Letang’s shot off Merzlikins’ glove.

Hornqvist converted a feed from Crosby at 9:50 of the third to make it 6-1, and Blueger made it a laugher, 7-1 at 11:58.

Nyquist capitalized on a sloppy Penguins play at 14:19 to cut it to 7-2.

—Field Level Media

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