PITTSBURGH — Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Wednesday night.
Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh's two-goal deficit. Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury overcame shaky defense to stop 31 shots.
"Nobody panicked," Fleury said.
Jack Johnson, Mark Letestu and Derek Mackenzie scored for the Blue Jackets, 0-5 all time in the postseason. Sergei Bobrovsky had 28 saves but was handcuffed by Sutter's knuckling wrister on a two-on-one break.
"I think we expected a tight game," Sutter said after the third playoff goal of his career. "They got up and we stuck with it. It was a good win."
Pittsburgh has the edge in playoff experience and star power, and swept the five regular-season meetings between the two teams. But Johnson gave the Blue Jackets their first-ever postseason lead 6:20 in.
Around the league: Interim Jets coach Paul Maurice got a four-year deal as full-time coach. He went 18-12-5 after Claude Noel was fired. Also, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Ondrej Pavelec will remain the No. 1 goaltender. … Sabres goaltenders coach Jim Corsi will not return, assistant Teppo Numminen's contract will not be renewed and assistants Joe Sacco and Jerry Forton have a choice to take jobs within the hockey department. … Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will coach Team Canada at the world championships, with Maurice and Peter DeBoer of the Devils his assistants.
First Period—1, Columbus, Johnson 1 (Dubinsky), 6:20. 2, Pittsburgh, Jokinen 1 (Malkin, Maatta), 17:13. 3, Columbus, Letestu 1 (Johnson, Jenner), 17:58 (pp). Penalties—Scuderi, Pit (interference), 17:45; Comeau, Clm (cross-checking), 19:44.
Second Period—4, Columbus, MacKenzie 1, :43 (sh). 5, Pittsburgh, Bennett 1 (Niskanen, Martin), 1:34 (pp). 6, Pittsburgh, Niskanen 1 (Malkin, Crosby), 2:19 (pp). Penalties—Johnson, Clm (interference), 2:09; Glass, Pit (interference), 3:11; Letang, Pit (slashing), 15:30.
Third Period—7, Pittsburgh, Sutter 1 (Bennett, Martin), 8:18. Penalties—Tyutin, Clm (tripping), 10:14; Letang, Pit (interference), 11:33. Shots on Goal—Columbus 13-12-9—34. Pittsburgh 12-10-10—32. Power-play opportunities—Columbus 1 of 4; Pittsburgh 2 of 3. Goalies—Columbus, Bobrovsky 0-1-0 (32 shots-28 saves). Pittsburgh, Fleury 1-0-0 (34-31). A—18,646 (18,387). T—2:33. Referees—Eric Furlatt, Wes McCauley. Linesmen—Steve Barton, Pierre Racicot.