Columbus Blue Jackets (5-6-0) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (9-4-0)
Root Sports, FS-O – 7:00 pm/et
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA
Finally these two teams are in the same division. This could be a nice little rivalry. Bobrovsky always seems to have good games against the Pens. Expect to hear Mark Letestu and R.J. Umberger mentioned over and over and over.
STATS, INFO & NOTES:
Penguins: Sidney Crosby (8G, 13A: 21P)
Blue Jackets: Marian Gaborik (5G, 5A: 10P)
Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury (9-2-0, 1.81 GAA, .927 Sv%)
Blue Jackets: Sergei Bobrovsky (4-6-0, 2.60 GAA, .916 Sv%)
Penguins: Defeated Boston Bruins 3-2.
Blue Jackets: Lost to Anaheim Ducks 4-3.
For some reason during a "compressed Olympic schedule," the Jackets haven't played since Sunday (thanks, NHL!), and get to get their legs back against one of the best teams in the Conference in Pittsburgh. The Pens are coming off a strong win against Boston on Wednesday night, after enduring a three-game skid last week. They've battled some injury issues, most notably with James Neal, but have gotten solid goal-tending from Marc-Andre Fleury and are playing some better defense in front of him.
The Jackets have a couple of injuries, notably Boone Jenner (out tonight) and Derek MacKenzie, who is a game-time decision. The Jackets hopefully have some pent-up hostility after Sunday's loss to Anaheim. They'll need to be on top of their game tonight to beat the high-octane Penguins.
On a macro level, this kicks off the "official" division rivalry between these two, although it's hard to call something one-sided a rivalry. That said, these teams didn't play last year, which adds a little sauce to this weekend's series. They played twice in the pre-season, and there was no love lost. Expect some fast, physical play tonight. If the Jackets want to be taken seriously within the division, this weekend gives them a golden chance to announce their presence with authority.
What Happened Last Time: February 26, 2012 – Pens won 4-2. [Our Recap]
Chris Kunitz had to two disallowed goals, and they were both shitty calls. Should have been 6-2. Malkin scored again.
Thiessen got his first win.
Hope Rick Nash gets traded to hell.
Penguins Player(s) to Watch: Sidney Crosby, because Sidney Crosby.
Blue Jackets Player(s) to Watch: Mark Letestu, because he's a former Penguin and something something.
Gif that Seems Appropriate for Today's Game:
Pittsburgh Penguins lines from Daily Faceoff:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – Matt D'Agostini
Tanner Glass – Brandon Sutter – Jayson Megna
Dustin Jeffrey – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Robert Bortuzzo
Columbus Blue Jackets lines from Daily Faceoff:
Nick Foligno – Artem Anisimov – Marian Gaborik
Mark Letestu – Brandon Dubinsky – Cam Atkinson
Blake Comeau – Ryan Johansen – R.J. Umberger
Michael Chaput – Derek MacKenzie – Jared Boll
Jack Johnson – David Savard
Fedor Tyutin – Daulton Prout
Ryan Murray – James Wizniewski
It's okay. For a minute, we forgot Rick Nash had been traded too.