Nick Foligno had two goals for the Blue Jackets, who won for the fifth time in seven games. Joonas Korpisalo had 29 saves, making several good stops with Pittsburgh pressing in the third period.
''I think the biggest improvement we made as a team tonight is we made some plays,'' Columbus coach John Tortorella said. ''We didn't ice pucks. We weren't flipping pucks all night long. We were in position for our D to make more plays. It's something that was a major weakness in our last game.''
Tortorella said the Blue Jackets ''dumbed themselves into a loss'' Wednesday against the Flyers, making sloppy plays and taking too many penalties in a 3-2 loss.
It was a different story in this one.
''I love the way we played tonight,'' Foligno said. ''We all answered and thought about what happened last game and we wanted to rectify individually as a player. Every guy stepped up his game tonight.''
It was Nyquist's second career hat trick. It was the first hat trick for Columbus since Boone Jenner scored three times in a 7-4 victory over Boston on March 12.
Jake Guentzel had a goal and assist for Pittsburgh, which had won three in a row. Kris Letang also scored, Evgeni Malkin added two assists and Tristan Jarry had 25 saves.
''I just don't think we played well enough tonight to win,'' Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. ''It's as simple as that.''
The Blue Jackets grabbed control with three unanswered goals in the second period.
Foligno gave Columbus the lead just 26 seconds into the second. He poke-checked Malkin trying to skate out of his zone with the puck, and then skated in alone before beating Jarry with a quick shot.
Nyquist then made it 3-1 with his sixth of the season at 2:52. He sent a backhand through traffic for a power-play goal.
Pittsburgh started to pick up its play later in the period, but Columbus got another power play when Guentzel was sent off for hooking. Foligno converted a shot from inside the right circle for a 4-1 lead at 15:09.
The Penguins got one back when Letang drove a slap shot by Korpisalo 5:20 in the third. They continued to pressure the Blue Jackets, generating two more power-play chances, but Korpisalo helped hold them off.
Nyquist then outraced Letang to score into an empty net at 19:01, giving Columbus a 5-2 lead.
''As of late I think we've played some good hockey,'' Tortorella said.
NOTES: Pittsburgh RW Bryan Rust was sidelined after he got hurt during the morning skate. ... Columbus has scored the first goal in its last 10 games. ... Guentzel has 13 goals and 21 points in 18 career games against Columbus. ... Columbus F Oliver Bjorkstrand picked up an assist to extend his point streak to six games, matching his career high. ... Columbus D Zach Werenski notched his 100th career assist. ... Nyquist has 10 points in his last seven games against Pittsburgh.
Penguins: At St. Louis on Saturday.
Blue Jackets: At the New York Islanders on Saturday.
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