Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Calvert's second goal of the contest, coming at 1:10 of the second overtime, gave the Columbus Blue Jackets their first-ever playoff victory with a 4-3 decision over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal from CONSOL Energy Center.
Brandon Dubinsky fought off Pens forward Jussi Jokinen behind the net and fed in front for Cam Atkinson, who missed from point-blank range on the right side. The rebound came out to Calvert, who made no mistake from the left wing.
"It's unbelievable. I think every year of my life I've watched NHL playoffs and you always dream about being the hero in OT," Calvert admitted.
Jack Johnson and Ryan Johansen added tallies with David Savard contributing two assists for the Blue Jackets, who had dropped five consecutive postseason games and head home with the series tied for Game 3 on Monday.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 39 pucks to record his first playoff win after nine appearances and three losses.
Brian Gibbons picked up a pair of first-period scores, Matt Niskanen also lit the lamp and Sidney Crosby netted two helpers for the Penguins, who have dropped their last three multiple-overtime contests.
Marc-Andre Fleury halted 41 shots in defeat.
"I think it's a missed opportunity," Niskanen said. "We're at home, Game 2, we're having a great first period, we have a two-goal lead. We're in complete control of the hockey game and whether it's a mistake or them capitalizing on an opportunity, the momentum changes and it took us a while to get back to playing."
Gibbons opened the scoring for the hosts, as he was screening Bobrovsky when a right-point floater from Niskanen hit him and caromed into the net with 3 1/2 minutes elapsed since the opening faceoff.
It was 2-0 at 4:24, when Gibbons raced up the left wing on a short-handed breakaway, threw a stick fake and beat Bobrovsky from atop the crease. The marker came only 16 seconds after Joe Vitale was whistled for goaltender interference.
Columbus halved its deficit on the same advantage on Johansen's rocket from the right point at 5:07, ending Pittsburgh's run of five consecutive goals dating back to the second period of Game 1.
"They answered back with that goal there," Pens head coach Dan Bylsma said. "I thought that was a big response from their power play."
The hosts seized momentum once more when Niskanen's rising slapper from the right point hit the net cleanly thanks to a Chris Kunitz screen with 2:08 left in the first for a power-play marker and 3-1 edge.
Columbus began its comeback when Calvert converted a 3-on-1 shorthanded break with a shot inside the right post for his first career playoff score to make it 3-2 with 7 1/2 minutes gone in the second.
"The short-handed goal for us was, I thought, the difference maker in the game. It gave hope to our guys," noted Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards. "You could feel it on the bench. From that moment on I thought we played a very strong game."
Fleury came up with three saves in close on Dubinsky as the clock ticked down to two minutes left before the second intermission, and the hosts maintained that slim margin.
The Jackets were given three power plays in the third period, including two in less than four minutes which saw a small overlapping 5-on-3. Johnson tied the game with 6:01 remaining, popping in a Johansen pass from the top of the right circle on at the end of the one-man advantage.
Pittsburgh survived a high-sticking minor to Paul Martin less than two minutes into the extra session, then Columbus checked away a hooking minor to Johnson just after the midway point.
Jackets forward Blake Comeau was sent off for a hard check against Brooks Orpik with 1:27 on the clock, and the visitors endured some scary moments around Bobrovsky before the minor was served shortly into the second OT.
Bobrovsky stopped 12 shots in the fourth period, then saw his offense produce the only four shots of the fifth stanza before the game's conclusion.
"It's a big win for our hockey team and a lot of people back in Columbus who are devoted to this organization," added Richards.