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#BattleOn Playoff Preview: Game 3

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets




WATCH: Cam Atkinson 3rd period goal | CLICK TO WATCH

Cam Atkinson 3rd period goal | LISTEN

LISTEN: Nick Foligno 2nd intermission interview

The Penguins finally solved Bobrovsky with 1.8 seconds left in the second period, making it a 2-1 game entering the third period and they needed a huge middle frame to get back in it. Pittsburgh has had its share of chances on the power play in this game, and though it's starting to even out in that department, the Blue Jackets need to keep the game 5-on-5 (we've said this before) and play to their strengths. They've still got a lead, it's just one goal and not two - but they need to play this third period as if they're trailing by a goal. By staying disciplined and keep the puck moving north, they'll be off to a good start and making Pittsburgh spend more time in its own end. Through two periods, shots are 26-15 in favor of the Penguins.

First Period Highlights | CLICK TO WATCH

LISTEN: Jack Skille's first intermission interview

The Blue Jackets got the start they were looking for but had to hang on a bit late in the first period, as the Penguins applied some pressure with a few chances on the power play - a theme that continued from Game 2. But the penalty killers have done a nice job shutting down passing lanes that stretch the zone, limiting the Penguins to shots from distance and making them force plays to happen. Columbus opened the scoring at 1:48 on Boone Jenner's first goal of the playoffs, swatting in a rebound off Jack Skille's quick shot from the right circle. Then it was Jack Johnson burying the rebound off a quick shot from Brandon Dubinsky, sending the Nationwide Arena crowd into straight-up pandemonium. Shots are 16-7 Penguins and they had the last seven shots of the opening frame.

Jack Johnson 1st period goal | CLICK TO WATCH

Boone Jenner 1st period goal | CLICK TO PLAY

Game Audio:
Jack Johnson 1st period goal | LISTEN

Game Audio:
Boone Jenner 1st period goal | LISTEN

WATCH: 2014 Home Playoff Opening Video | CLICK TO WATCH

Nick Foligno discusses his return to the lineup for Game 3. | CLICK TO WATCH 

WATCH: Game 2 hero Matt Calvert talks about tonight's game after the morning skate. | CLICK TO WATCH

UPDATE (10:02 AM):
Here's the lineup used in rushes for today's morning skate...

Jenner - Johansen - Skille
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Umberger - Anisimov - Foligno
MacKenzie - Letestu - Comeau

Make sure you get down to Nationwide Arena in plenty of time tonight - we're having a pretty awesome party on the Front St. plaza. The fun starts at 5 p.m., a full two hours before the 7 p.m. puck drop for Game 3. Can't wait to see you all in the Arena District tonight!

The Blue Jackets are back in Columbus after Saturday's dramatic Game 2, and the stage is set for Game 3 on Monday night. The team will hold a morning skate at 10 a.m. at Nationwide Arena and we'll have complete coverage for you here at Game Day Central, along with our LIVE morning skate show. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Penguins, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!

The Blue Jackets pulled off their Game 2 victory despite using only five defensemen after Fedor Tyutin was injured in the first period and did not return. As of Sunday afternoon, there was no official update on Tyutin's status and Richards did not divulge any details following the team's optional practice.

If Tyutin cannot play in Game 3, either Nick Schultz or Dalton Prout will slot into the lineup which would likely cause the defense pairs to shift around.

Speaking of guys who are likely to play on Monday, Nick Foligno skated again on Sunday, felt good, and Richards said that he will look to get Foligno into the lineup for Game 3. We'll know more after the team's morning skate.

Wipe the slate clean, back to square one, whatever you want to call it - Game 2 is over and done with, and a new chapter in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series begins with Game 3.

The Blue Jackets feel like they're a couple of breaks away from being ahead 2-0 in this series, but they happily flew back to Columbus on Saturday night with a split in Pittsburgh and a chance to regain home ice advantage with a virtual best-of-five series lying ahead. 

If all goes well in the morning skate, they'll get another healthy body back at forward with Foligno's probable return. He said he was nearly good to go for Game 2, but after a conversation with the coaching staff and team doctors, the decision was made to give him more time to heal and get his conditioning up to speed. Now that those things appear to be resolved, Foligno is as anxious as can be looking forward to his first postseason game in a Blue Jackets uniform, and especially with the series officially up for grabs.

After seeing how quickly the Penguins started in Game 2, it's safe to say the Blue Jackets are going to be well aware of that heading into Game 3. Not only was Pittsburgh the faster and more opportunistic team, it was also the more disciplined team; the Penguins' No. 1-ranked power play unit (regular season) has had its share of chances in both games so far, and some of the penalties committed by the Blue Jackets could best be described as reckless.

Special teams has been a key story line in the series, with the Blue Jackets scoring two huge shorthanded goals so far and both teams tallying at key times on the power play. Perhaps most encouraing for Columbus, though, was its clutch penalty killing in overtime - on two occasions - when the Penguins had opportunities to win the game and make the Jackets pay for a mistake.

The Blue Jackets desperately wanted to be in this position heading home: a 1-1 tie in the series, home ice advantage, and a golden chance to hold serve and take control. Their first crack at doing that is Monday night at Nationwide Arena, in what's expected to be a rowdy, electric atmosphere that's been five years in the making.


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