Penguins rally to beat Blue Jackets 5-4; Columbus’ Kubalik has hat trick in loss

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Chris Kunitz had a goal and assist and the Pittsburgh Penguins scored twice in the third period to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 in a pre-season game Friday night.

Penguins star Sidney Crosby skipped the game after sitting out the third period against Detroit on Wednesday night because of a sore hip flexor. Evgeni Malkin also was out of the lineup.

Kunitz was credited with the goal after the puck caromed off two Blue Jackets players on the power play late in the second period.

Nick Johnson scored from between the circles on a power play for the winning goal at 8:13 of the third, and Mike Comrie made it 5-3 four minutes later with a tap-in, finishing off a nice passing play.

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Arron Asham and Mike Rupp also scored for Pittsburgh (2-0).

Tomas Kubalik had three goals, his third with 44 seconds left, and Kyle Wilson also scored for Columbus (1-2).

Pittsburgh’s Brent Johnson allowed three goals on 21 shots, playing the first two periods. The Blue Jackets’ Mathieu Garon went the distance and made 24 save.

The teams will meet again Saturday night in Pittsburgh.