COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Nick Foligno scored three times and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on Saturday to set a franchise record with their ninth consecutive win.
It was Foligno’s first hat trick in his 541st career NHL game.
Matt Calvert and Scott Hartnell also scored, Brandon Dubinsky assisted on all three of Foligno’s goals, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves as the Blue Jackets won for the 11th time in 13 games. Marko Dano added two assists.
Columbus, already eliminated from postseason contention, scored four consecutive goals after trailing 2-0 late in the second period.
Sidney Crosby, Brandon Sutter and Ben Lovejoy scored for the Penguins, just 3-7-1 in their last 11 games and still not assured of a playoff berth. Ian Cole had two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves.
Although still likely to make the postseason, the loss certainly didn’t make it any easier for the Penguins. Their magic number is five with three of their final four games on the road
Pittsburgh came in with 95 points, hanging on to the first wild-card spot in the East with a shot at moving up — but also in jeopardy of adding even more drama to the stretch run.
The Blue Jackets have come from behind at some point in their last nine victories, a franchise record, and in 11 of their last 12 wins.
Foligno and Calvert scored 2:03 apart to tie the score with 1:32 remaining in the second.
The Blue Jackets scored their third goal in a row — and second by Foligno — when he stole the puck by reaching around Derrick Pouiliot near the blue line. On a 2-on-1, Dubinsky’s shot was blocked by Fleury’s right shoulder but Foligno cleaned up the rebound at 6:46 of the third.
Hartnell extended the lead to 4-2 when jammed in a loose puck at 9:29 after a lengthy scrum with Fleury sprawled on the ice.
The Penguins came right back with Lovejoy getting his second of the year on a wrister from the right point through heavy congestion at the 10:10 mark.
Foligno capped the scoring with an empty-netter with just under a minute left, extending his career best season total to 30 goals.
Crosby got the Penguins on the scoreboard with his 27th of the season at 8:21 of the first. From the right corner, defenseman Ian Cole backhanded a centering pass to Patric Hornqvist, who barely touched it in forwarding it on to Crosby. Crosby was unattended at the right doorstep and beat Bobrovsky glove side.
Sutter made it 2-0 midway through the second with his 18th as he took a pass from Cole that might have been meant for Nick Spaling and scored on a slap shot from near the hash marks.
The Blue Jackets then began their turnaround.
After a giveaway by the Penguins in the defensive zone, Columbus zipped three passes from tape to tape with Artem Anisimov finding Dubinsky who then saucered a feed across the crease to Foligno for a jam shot at 16:25, cutting the lead in half.
Just over 2 minutes later, the Blue Jackets were celebrating again. Now taking the play to the Penguins, Calvert had the puck in the slot with Fleury out of position but his shot caught the crossbar. Still, he briefly gloved the rebound and skated to the right wing, backhanding a shot from a hard angle that went between Dano’s skates for his 11th of the year.
Foligno went flying as the puck crossed the line as he crashed the net and tried to avoid Fleury, jumping over the goalie.
Notes: Penguins C Evgeni Malkin missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. … Columbus has also won a franchise-record eight in a row on the road heading into Monday’s game at the New York Rangers. … D Taylor Chorney, called up from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, played in his third game for Pittsburgh this season. … The Blue Jackets play two of their final four at home.
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