COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)Sidney Crosby scored the 79th game-winner of his career and rallied Pittsburgh from a two-goal deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 Saturday night for the Penguins’ first road win of the season.
Danton Heinen scored twice, Josh Archibald and Jan Rutta each had a goal and an assist, and Brock McGinn also scored a goal. Crosby and Kasperi Kapanen added two assists apiece.
”We weren’t prepared to play in the first period, and we got we got totally outplayed by Columbus,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. ”I give our players a lot of credit. I thought we responded well after that.”
Tristan Jarry stopped 29 shots for Pittsburgh, which scored three times in each of the last two periods, and has won four of its first five games. The Penguins now lead the Metropolitan Division with nine points.
Boone Jenner had a goal, Jack Roslovic scored short-handed, and Kent Johnson got his first NHL goal for Columbus, which has lost four of its first six games. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 33 shots.
Pittsburgh had not even recorded a shot when Columbus went ahead 1-0 at 7:13 of the first. Kris Letang’s clearing pass went off Johnny Gaudreau’s skate and bounced to Jenner who buried it from right in front of the net.
Roslovic made it 2-0 when he jumped on a Penguins turnover and scored short-handed with 1:16 left in the first.
Archibald cut the Blue Jackets’ lead in half at 3:43 of the second but Columbus responded 14 seconds later with Johnson’s first NHL goal to make it 3-1.
”We didn’t execute well,” Crosby said. ”(Jarry) made some big saves. It could have been a bigger deficit than it was.”
The second and third periods clearly belonged to Pittsburgh.
Rutta pulled the Penguins within one midway through the second with a laser from the blue line and Heinen tied it with 5:41 left as he buried Crosby’s rebound.
”We’re still 3-3 going into third,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. ”You’ve got to gather yourself. That’s part of pro hockey. We took the first they took the second. You’ve got to gather yourself for the third. We gave up two face-off goals in the third period. That’s just killer. That’s that should never happen.”
Crosby’s one-timer at 5:38 of the third from the lower right circle gave Pittsburgh its first lead of the game. Heinen and McGinn scored 44 seconds apart to complete the scoring with just over 5 minutes remaining.
”We had a good first and they didn’t,” Jenner said. ”You know they’re going to push back, and we can’t let off the gas like that. I thought we just took a step back a little bit, and a team like that’s going to make you pay.”
The Penguins have won six straight over Columbus dating back to last season. Pittsburgh is 16-3-1 in its last 20 games against Columbus dating back to Feb. 3, 2017.
Sidney Crosby has posted three three-point efforts in his first five games (three goals, seven assists).
Johnny Gaudreau played in his 300th consecutive regular-season game, third-longest active iron man streak behind Phil Kessel (987) and Brent Burns (683). Gaudreau also kept up his point-per-game pace with seven points in six games.
The Penguins played without Jake Guentzel, who was out of the lineup after taking two shots to the head in Pittsburgh’s win over Los Angeles on Thursday. He has three goals and two assists through the first four games. … Blue Jackets forward Justin Danforth suffered an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return.
Pittsburgh did not record a shot on goal for the first 11:30 of the game. By the 4:00 mark of the third period they had surpassed Columbus in shots, 26-24.
The Blue Jackets are 0 for 12 on the power play this season, remaining the only NHL team without a man-advantage goal.
Penguins: At Edmonton on Monday night.
Blue Jackets: At the New York Rangers on Sunday.