Crosby Hat Trick as Penguins Roll to 4th Straight, Beat Columbus 5-2

Sidney Crosby completed the hat trick with a long-range empty netter. They were his career goals No. 494, 495, and 496. Mike Matheson scored his fifth game-winning goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins (25-10-5) won their fourth straight game and 15th in their last 17, to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets (18-19-1) 5-2 at Nationwide Arena.

Casey DeSmith started in goal for the Penguins but didn’t last long. DeSmith gave up a pair of goals in the first period and his game was over. No. 1 goalie Tristan Jarry relieved DeSmith. Jarry stopped all 15 shots he faced for his 21st win of the season.

And the Penguins goalie controversy deepened, though head coach Mike Sullivan was deferential DeSmith.

“I think we put Case in a tough spot tonight. He was just coming off COVID. Our intent was to get him a couple of practices to get more reps. Obviously, when Louie went down in the morning skate, it forced our hand,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “Casey’s played a lot of really good hockey for us and we know that the type of goalie that he is and what he’s capable of, and we’re going to work extremely hard to help case capture his best game.”

The Penguins showed the best parts of their game in the first few minutes of the first period, including extended offensive zone time which extended beyond a line change.

Just 32 seconds into…

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Dan Kingerski

Dan Kingerski

PGH Hockey Now

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Hockey guy. Prez, National Hockey Now. Formerly 93-7 the Fan, NHL Sirius/XM, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Once body checked Wayne Gretzky. Photo cred: @DaveDiCello