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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Monday, 04.28.2014 / 1:23 PM

By Craig Merz -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Blue Jackets without Umberger for Game 6

COLUMBUS -- Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards might have been thinking of how he'll match up with the Pittsburgh Penguins later Monday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round series when he committed a slip of the tongue: He actually revealed why left wing RJ Umberger would not play Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT) at Nationwide Arena instead of giving the "upper body" or "lower body" answer standard during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Shoulder, sorry, not feeling great … a little slip there," he said to laughter by the media. "Not feeling great, not 100 percent."

Richards regained his footing to not reveal the injury that will also keep defenseman Nikita Nikitin out of the lineup. There are no other changes expected.

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Posted On Monday, 04.28.2014 / 1:05 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Penguins may pair Crosby, Malkin again in Game 6

COLUMBUS -- The Pittsburgh Penguins could play forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin together for the second consecutive game Monday.

The Penguins separated the two centers at the morning skate after using Crosby and Malkin on the same line throughout Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Malkin returned to the second line between forwards Jussi Jokinen and James Neal, while forward Lee Stempniak rejoined Crosby and forward Chris Kunitz.

But Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he expects to put Crosby and Malkin together through at least a portion of Game 6 Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, ROOT, FS-O) at Nationwide Arena. Crosby, who has five assists but no goals in the series, said he thinks he is playing well even if it isn't apparent on the score sheet.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 3:49 PM

By Craig Merz -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Facing elimination, Jackets enjoying underdog role

COLUMBUS -- Pressure? What pressure?

Facing elimination Monday from the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Columbus Blue Jackets insist they can handle what lies ahead in Game 6 at Nationwide Arena (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT).

In fact, a day after the Penguins' 3-1 victory in Game 5 on Saturday at Consol Energy Center for a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series, Columbus coach Todd Richards used different terminology to describe the Blue Jackets' situation.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 3:36 PM

By Craig Merz -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Blue Jackets plan to crowd, distract Fleury in Game 6

COLUMBUS -- In the wake of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky being bombarded with 50 shots while being pushed, knocked down and high-sticked in Game 5, the Columbus Blue Jackets promise to make life difficult at the other end of the ice for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 on Monday at Nationwide Arena.

The Penguins took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series with a 3-1 home victory Saturday by limiting the Blue Jackets to 24 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury while being all over Bobrovsky.

Columbus plans to change that Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT).

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Posted On Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 1:00 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Penguins looking to finish Blue Jackets in Game 6

PITTSBURGH -- If the Pittsburgh Penguins are to eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday, they will need to break a pattern in the process.

Throughout the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series, led 3-2 by Pittsburgh, each team has responded to adversity. A trend has formed that involves one team taking an early lead before losing one game, then falling behind early before coming from behind to win the next.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said the Penguins joked following their 3-1 win in Game 5 on Saturday that they would consider handing Columbus a 1-0 lead to start Game 6 at Nationwide Arena (7 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS2, ROOT, FS-O).

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Posted On Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 1:28 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Penguins defenseman Orpik could miss Game 5

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik did not participate in the morning skate Saturday and could be sidelined for Game 5 against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Consol Energy Center (7p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT).

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma did not provide an update on Orpik's condition.

Orpik, one of Pittsburgh's more physical defenseman, left Penguins practice Friday for undisclosed reasons.

"He's a big loss. Physically, he's our No. 1 leader as far as hits, the way he can change momentum with one of them," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "He kills a lot of penalties. He plays against top lines. So if he's not able to go it's going to be a big loss for us.

"Unfortunately, it's something we've had to deal with all season. Hopefully whatever the coaches decide to do with the pairings, [we] can step up and play the right way."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 1:10 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Blue Jackets' Tyutin, Murray expected back for Game 5

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets could each have their lineups bolstered by returning players when they meet in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series Saturday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT).

Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin confirmed he will play Saturday after missing two games with a lower-body injury, and defenseman Ryan Murray (lower body) said he is a game-time decision. Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said he expects each to return to the lineup.

Penguins forward Marcel Goc, who has been sidelined for 13 games with a foot injury, will be a game-time decision.

Tyutin was paired with defenseman Nikita Nikitin and Murray skated with defenseman James Wisniewski during Columbus' skate Saturday morning. With the best-of-7 series tied 2-2, Murray expects each team to play with desperation.

"They've been a pretty intense four games," Murray said. "It's been a strange series. Each team has come back every game and has come back from deficits. We stole one in one another's barns and just know that no team is going to quit out there no matter what the score is.

"If you get a lead, it's not safe."

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Posted On Friday, 04.25.2014 / 3:50 PM

By Craig Merz -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Blue Jackets' mantra: 2 wins down, 14 to go

COLUMBUS -- Jared Boll remembers the first time the Columbus Blue Jackets made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2009 in the eighth season of the franchise.

How could he forget? The longest-tenured Blue Jackets forward had not been back until this season.

That first foray five years ago resulted in a four-game loss to the Detroit Red Wings and the excitement was over in eight days.

This postseason has been unlike that short-lived run five years ago.

The Blue Jackets are tied 2-2 with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference First Round best-of-7 seven series with Game 5 on Saturday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT).

"[2009] was the first time this franchise ever made the playoffs," Boll said. "Obviously it was a goal of ours to make it and we made it.

"This year it's different. We're here now and expect to do good things. We're not satisfied with just making the playoffs."

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Posted On Friday, 04.25.2014 / 3:22 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Penguins goalie Fleury moves on from Game 4

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said he made the wrong play, but he will not allow that to affect him moving forward in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Leading 3-2 with less than 30 seconds remaining in Game 4 on Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Fleury left the net with a puck careening around the end boards. The puck hopped over Fleury's stick, which led to him scrambling to stop a shot from Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky that tied the game 3-3. Nick Foligno scored a long-distance goal 2:45 into overtime to give Columbus the win and tie the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series 2-2.

Dubinsky's late goal left Fleury face down in his crease.

Looking back on the play, Fleury said he should have remained in net, an opinion shared by Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. But at the time he thought he could make a play that would help clear the puck from Pittsburgh's zone and seal a victory.

"I think it's easy after, when you watch the video in slow motion. It's the wrong play when the puck goes in the net," Fleury said. "But as it happened, the puck was coming slow. I read I could stop it and it might be good to pick it up and get the puck out of the zone pretty quick. So that's why I went. The puck took a bad bounce and that's it."

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Posted On Friday, 04.25.2014 / 2:54 PM

By Craig Merz -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Blue Jackets' Tyutin more likely to return in Game 5

COLUMBUS -- The news is mixed for two of the Columbus Blue Jackets' injured top-six defensemen.

Rookie Ryan Murray did not participate in practice Friday and is likely to miss a second straight game when the Eastern Conference First Round series returns to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT) at Consol Energy Center.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs best-of-7 series is tied at 2-2.

Murray was seen by a member of the media with a boot on his right foot prior to Game 4 on Wednesday in Columbus after leaving the morning skate early.

"Losing Murray is a big setback for us, but guys have stepped up and played some really good hockey," center Ryan Johansen said.

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Quote of the Day

I mean, any of those 14 teams (in the lottery) it would have been an absolute honor. If I am selected by Edmonton it will be amazing, a dream come true. They have a lot of amazing young players there.

— Likely No. 1 pick Connor McDavid after the Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday