It was a night for NHL teams to even up their respective playoff series, as the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks all won to get their series to 2-2. Scott Cullen has notes on Brandon Dubinsky, Jack Johnson, Shawn Horcoff, Alex Goligoski, Patrick Kane, Ben Smith and more.
MY MORNING JACKETS
The Pittsburgh Penguins coughed up a 3-0 lead and lost 4-3 in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets, leaving the series tied at two games apiece.
To this point in the series, the most valuable Blue Jacket has been C Brandon Dubinsky who, in addition to spending his time matched up against Penguins star C Sidney Crosby, Dubinsky contributed a goal and an assist, giving him a team-leading six points in the series. Dubinsky has earned a reputation as a solid two-way forward who can play tough minutes, facing top-tier opposition but, in this series, he's been more assertive offensively and that's the kind of performance that the Blue Jackets need to knock off the higher-seeded Penguins.
Crosby was held off the scoresheet, and had a negative Corsi, for the first time in the series in Game Four.
Blue Jackets C Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist, giving him five points in four games, and his line -- with rookie LW Boone Jenner and journeyman RW Jack Skille -- got the better of Pittsburgh's second line of Evgeni Malkin, Jussi Jokinen and James Neal.
Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury was having a decent game, but turned the puck over leading to Dubinsky's tying goal, then the winning goal was a 65-foot wrist shot from Blue Jackets LW Nick Foligno. Considering Fleury's dubious playoff history, he and the Penguins can't afford to have those kinds of gaffes appear with the game on the line.
Blue Jackets D Jack Johnson played a game-high 31:12, mostly against Crosby, and, for the first time in the series, was break-even in terms of shot attempts for and against during 5-on-5 play. Score effects or not, given that they were chasing for much of the game, the Blue Jackets will take it.
For the fourth consecutive game, Penguins D Paul Martin recorded a pair of assists. He has eight points to lead all playoff scorers.
Blue Jackets D James Wisniewski also had a pair of assists and had nine unblocked shot attempts, his first points of the series, and had a game-high plus-15 Corsi.
With the series even, the Blue Jackets aren't carrying play, but they're not getting dominated either. If G Sergei Bobrovsky can give them a few solid games, they can put pressure on Fleury and the Penguins.
The Dallas Stars evened their series with the Anaheim Ducks, taking Game Four by a 4-2 score, rallying to score four unanswered goals after falling behind 2-0.
Anaheim came into the game with some lineup changes, making veteran RW Teemu Selanne a healthy scratch, and then missing C Ryan Getzlaf due to an upper-body injury. As a result, C Rickard Rakell and RW Emerson Etem were inserted into the lineup.
Dallas' line of Shawn Horcoff, Vernon Fiddler and Colton Sceviour was particularly effective. Horcoff and Fiddler each had two points and the trio was on for more than two-thirds of even strength shot attempts.
Ducks D Francois Beauchemin, who played a team-high 27:14, got eaten up in terms of puck possession, finishing minus-14 (29.4% Corsi%)
On the other hand, Stars D Alex Goligoski logged 32:48, scored a goal and, through the first four games, is running a 56.7% Corsi%.
Needless to say, if the Ducks don't have Getzlaf back in the lineup, in a hurry, then they are really vulnerable to be upset.
KANE COMES THROUGH
Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the game, 11:17 into overtime, giving Chicago a 4-3 win in Game Four, tying the series at two games apiece.
In the third period, the Blackhawks shifted Ben Smith into the middle on the line with Kane and Patrick Sharp, and that unit created several scoring chances before connecting on the winner. Smith had the best Corsi differential (+13), and percentage (74.1%), among Blackhawks forwards.
Blackhawks defencemen Nick Leddy and Michal Roszival had a tremendous game, carrying possession against weaker competition. They matched up most frequently against the Blues' line of Maxim Lapierre, Steve Ott and Chris Porter. While Lapierre scored St. Louis' second goal late in the second period, that line was dominated possession-wise. Leddy was on for 26 shot attempts for and five shot attempts against (83.9%). When Leddy was off the ice, the Blackhawks were virtually even (50.6%) in possession terms.
Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews added two assists, giving him five points through the first four games of the series.
Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko continued to find the net, scoring a pair of goals to give him four goals in four games for the series.
Having tied the series, the Blackhawks are likely in a slightly better position going forward, particularly as long as St. Louis C David Backes remains out of the lineup, but this is an even series. Literally, both teams have a 50.0% Fenwick Close (unblocked shot attempts) for the series.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.