COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The big pads circled the puck and Steve Mason thought he had it corraled. Then it started tumbling away, wobbling inches over the goal line.
Pittsburgh scored twice in the final 3 minutes of regulation to tie it and Sidney Crosby's shot barely crossed the line in the shootout to lift the Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
• Sidney Crosby scored the lone goal in the shootout to help the Penguins improve to 6-0-0 on the road.
• Crosby also had two assists, giving him five goals and six assists during his six-game point streak.
• Penguins goalie Brent Johnson stopped 29 shots and is 10-2-2 with a 2.09 GAA in his career against Columbus.
• The Blue Jackets have lost five of their last six games after starting the season 5-1-0.
• Rick Nash scored two goals for his second multi-goal game in his last four games.
• Steve Mason has allowed 23 goals over his last five starts.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
"It was kind of a fluky. The puck kept going," Crosby said. "I don't know if he lost it or he didn't know where it was or whatever. I just tried a quick shot. I thought he had the save there. It just trickled in."
Mason couldn't believe the puck eluded him.
"It hit my stick and I didn't get it settled until it was over the line," he said. "It just trickled over and I was too late on it."
Kunitz said that even when it was 3-1 and time was running out that Crosby remained a positive influence.
"It shows a lot of character from our captain. He goes out and he's never quitting on anything," Kunitz said. "Sometimes a team goes packing, down by two with 3 minutes left. But he goes out, he's on the bench, he's saying, 'Let's get the next one.' So we go out there and he finds himself the puck and he gets it to [Goligoski], he gets a great shot and puts it in the net to get us to overtime."
Nash had two goals -- one while on his knees -- and Derek Dorsett his first of the season for the Blue Jackets, who lost their third in a row.
"We're not closing games," Nash said. "We got the lead in a lot of the games already and just can't seem to close it out. They are the defending Stanley Cup champions. You can tell why they're such a good team. We are a team that needs to learn how to play with the lead."
Columbus led 3-1 before Fedotenko netted a rebound at the left circle off a wide shot from the right point by Martin Skoula with 2:56 left. With the Penguins suddenly buzzing, Goligoski took a feed from Crosby seconds later, teed it up in the high slot and beat Mason glove side to knot the score.
"It should have never got to the shootout," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We did everything well but get the game shut down."
The Penguins were playing without center Evgeni Malkin. Sidelined by a strained right shoulder, he missed his first game in three years.
With a large portion of the capacity crowd of 19,136 cheering for the Penguins, the Blue Jackets slowly built a two-goal lead.
Nash broke through late in the first on the power play. He collected the puck behind the cage and tried a wraparound, the puck sliding to the right wing where Derick Brassard's wrister was blocked by Johnson. Nash had skated to the slot and was knocked down. While still on his knees, the rebound came to him and he jammed the puck in for his seventh of the season.
After Nash made it 2-0, Kunitz was knocked down on a breakaway but there was no call. Seconds later, he ended up with the puck at the left doorstep and lifted it high over Mason's glove. Dorsett then returned the two-goal lead.
The Penguins woke up just in time.
"It felt like in the third we just kept generating chances," Crosby said. "We all felt confident we could get ourselves back in it with the way we were playing, the momentum we had."
The Penguins wore their baby blue third jerseys for the first time on the road since the 2008 Winter Classic in Buffalo, a 2-1 shootout victory. ... A video clip of Colorado's Adam Foote getting leveled on a check -- he forced a trade to leave Columbus at the trade deadline in 2008 -- was met with loud cheers. ... Goligoski has goals in three straight games, while Crosby stretched his points streak to six in a row.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Nationwide Arena Location: Columbus, Ohio
Referees: Gord Dwyer, Ian Walsh Linesmen: David Brisebois, Mike Cvik
Attendance: 19,136 (105.5% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Rick Nash (7)
(Power Play) Assists: Derick Brassard, R.J. Umberger
Rick Nash (8)
Assists: Antoine Vermette, Mike Commodore
Chris Kunitz (2)
(Shorthanded) Assist: Sidney Crosby
Derek Dorsett (1)
Assists: Samuel Pahlsson, Antoine Vermette
Ruslan Fedotenko (3)
Assists: Martin Skoula, Brooks Orpik
Alex Goligoski (5)
Assists: Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz
No scoring this period
Shootout attempt by Antoine Vermette MISSES wide of net (Snapshot 15 ft)
Shootout attempt by Kris Letang MISSES goalpost (Snapshot 17 ft)
Shootout attempt by Rick Nash MISSES wide of net (Wristshot 17 ft)
Shootout GOAL scored by Sidney Crosby on Steve Mason (Tip-In 6 ft)
Shootout attempt by Kristian Huselius SAVED by Brent Johnson (Backhand 6 ft)