Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has not looked very good lately and a 5-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets added to his woes. His first period against the new Metropolitan Division rivals saw him give up two iffy goals on three shots. A Cam Atkinson wristshot three minutes into the second soured the spirit the CONSOL Energy Center had, what if it being a Free Tickets for Kids game.
But Jussi Jokinen, playing on a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, turned the tide. His natural hat trick (scoring the next three goals in the game for those of you uninformed) tied the game at 3-3. Boone Jenner's backhand, his second of the game, was the Pens backbreaker. Derek MacKenzie added a empty netter.
Of his performance, Bonne Jenner (great hockey name) said, "I have to give credit to my linemates and my teammates. We all worked pretty hard tonight. It was kind of a different game, going up three and then [allowing] three. So when it was tied going into the third, we just wanted to stick to our game and I thought we did that."
Even in defeat, the word out of the Pens camp is good. Jokinen showed a lot of promise on that second line. Chemistry with Neal and Malkin was not a factor as Geno and the Real Deal each had two assists. The pressure's now on Beau Bennett to keep his penciled in spot on the second line or head for the third.
Head coach Dan Bylsma said of the situation, "Beau played game one with James and Geno and played really well and showed a lot in that game. I think they had eight scoring chances as a group that game. Jussi is a guy who's played with some very good players in his career and has done very well. I'm not surprised to see him be able to fit in and play on that line and have some chemistry. He's an extremely intelligent player."
Work needs done on the Penguins powerplay has the team went 0-5 on it after struggling the last two games with the man advantage. The next tilt for the team is Monday when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.
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