Michal Rozsival won it in overtime after Alexei Morozov jammed
in a loose puck with 31.2 seconds left in regulation as the
Penguins came back.
But the loss of Lemieux cast a pall over the Penguins.
"He's out for the season," said Jan Hrdina, who had three
assists. "We have to put it behind us and try and play our best."
Earlier in the day, Lemieux announced he would not be returning
for the Penguins this season due to chronic pain from a hip injury.
"We've played a lot of the season without him," Pittsburgh
coach Rick Kehoe said. "For some guys, they've adjusted. For other
guys, they're still looking at him as being the guy who's going to
Kehoe said management decided not to tell the team about
Lemieux's announcement until after the game.
The Penguins are also once again without Martin Straka. Straka
missed 47 games with a broken leg and was accidentally hit in the
left eye by teammate Johan Hedberg during Wednesday night's 5-4
loss to Los Angeles. Straka broke a bone around the eye and is out
Columbus' Ron Tugnutt made several acrobatic stops and it
appeared the Blue Jackets might escape with a win until a Penguins
rush in the final minute of regulation.
Robitaille blew past several defenders to fire the puck at the
net with goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin off the ice. Tugnutt made
two saves and was prone when Morozov muscled the puck through him.
"Right now it feels great after this win," Morozov said.
"It's a really good two points on the road and we're in a fight
for the playoffs."
In the overtime, Hrdina outmaneuvered a defender on the left
wing and dumped a perfect setup pass through the crease to Rozsival
for his fifth goal of the season.
"The most important thing is that we got these two points,"
Rozsival said. "Maybe it'll be a little lift for us to come back
at the end of the game and then win it in overtime."
Mike Sillinger had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets,
winless in their last seven games (0-4-1-2) at home.
Columbus rookie Rostislav Klesla poked in a rebound of Ray
Whitney's one-timer for a 1-0 lead. Just 17 seconds later, Kovalev
picked up his 22nd goal when he faked a wraparound and drilled a
slap shot that trickled between the skates of Tugnutt.
Robert Kron made it 2-1 just 39 seconds into the second period.
Espen Knutsen set up the score with a nifty cross-ice pass to Geoff
Sanderson at the left post, with Sanderson deflecting the puck back
into the slot for Kron to convert his fourth goal of the season.
The Blue Jackets went up 3-1 when Sillinger skated in front of
an errant Pittsburgh pass at the center logo and scored high over
Aubin on the breakaway. It was Sillinger's 15th goal.
The Penguins drew to 3-2 early in the third on Robert Lang's
22nd goal off a drop pass in the slot from Kovalev, setting up the
"We just seem to find ways to lose close games," Columbus
coach Dave King said.
Pittsburgh RW Eric Meloche became the first Ohio State
product ever to play against the Blue Jackets in Columbus. ... The
sellout was Columbus' 48th in a row. ... The Penguins are 3-0-0-0
against the Blue Jackets.