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#BattleOn Playoff Preview: Game 5

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets


POST GAME AUDIO (CLICK ON NAME TO PLAY): Richards | Dubinsky | Letestu

SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: "Survival" could be the best way to sum up the middle period for the Blue Jackets, who head to the third period in a 1-1 tie at CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins definitely found another gear in the second, putting 21 shots on Bobrovsky for a two-period total of 36 to Columbus' 17. The ice tilted in favor of the home team in the period, and at times, it was overwhelming - but the Jackets didn't help themselves with a few careless penalties along the way. Pittsburgh got a power play goal from Chris Kunitz in the second period, a bang-bang play in front after Bobrovsky couldn't find a fluttering puck after making a save in tight. That goal and Jenner's first period goal are the only tallies to report through 40 minutes in the Steel City, where both teams will look to seize momentum early in the third period.

The Blue Jackets weathered the Penguins' start and established their game early, getting in on the forecheck and putting pressure on the Pittsburgh defense with some heavy shifts in the offensive zone. The puck was in front of them for the most part, even though they got into some trouble late in the period with their breakouts. The lone tally so far is Boone Jenner's third goal of the series - a power play marker born from a persistent David Savard effort in front of the net. Fleury appeared to have the puck covered, but Savard jarred it loose and Jenner was all alone at the back post to tap it in. Shots are 15-9 favoring the Penguins after 20 minutes. 

Boone Jenner 1st period PP goal | CLICK TO WATCH

GAME AUDIO: Boone Jenner 1st period PP goal | LISTEN

Jody Shelley and Bob McElligott, on-site in Pittsburgh, break down Game 5 in the latest edition of CBJ Today.

WATCH: Todd Richards' pre-game press conference. | CLICK TO WATCH

WATCH: Ryan Johansen shares his thoughts prior to Game 5. | CLICK TO WATCH

WATCH: Fedor Tyutin, returning tonight, gives his take on Game 5. | CLICK TO WATCH

UPDATE (11:45 AM):
Here are the lines and pairs from the morning skate...



UPDATE (11:40 AM):
Both Ryan Murray and Fedor Tyutin are on the ice for the Jackets' morning skate at CONSOL Energy Center, and are back on a regular pairing.

UPDATE (11:30 AM):
Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik did not skate this morning for Pittsburgh. Dan Bylsma did not have an update on his status for Game 5, but it's likely that center Marcel Goc will return.

The Blue Jackets and Penguins are tied up at two games apiece, and now, the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday night. The team will hold a morning skate at 11:30 a.m. at CONSOL Energy Center and we'll have complete coverage for you here at Game Day Central. 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!

Injury updates are hard to come by with both the Blue Jackets and Penguins playing it tight-lipped, but there was good news for Columbus with Fedor Tyutin taking part in a full practice on Friday morning at Nationwide Arena. 

Tyutin left Game 2 with an injury and has missed Games 3 and 4 in Columbus, but it's at least a possibility that he plays in Game 5. Richards would only say that Tyutin's practice was "positive" and they'll talk to team doctors to determine the appropriate next steps.

The Blue Jackets are expected to take the same forward group into Game 5.

For both the Blue Jackets and Penguins, the situation cannot be any more crystal clear: what began as a best-of-7 series has now turned into a best-of-3, and the first team to win two of those games is headed to the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The talk in recent days has been the inability of either side to hold a lead, and for good reason: the 3-0, 3-1 lead has been a recipe for disaster and Game 4 is a perfect example; trailing by three goals less than 12 minutes into the game, the Blue Jackets had to piece together an epic rally, tie the game in the dying seconds, and win in overtime on a Nick Foligno goal.

Neither side wants to see that trend continue, and truth be told, either would be happy with a two-goal lead and try to buck the trend. Given the importance of Game 5 and its stature as a "swing" game in the series, a lead is something that will not and cannot be taken for granted.

The approach of both teams is also something to keep an eye on in Game 5. Tendencies have been developed, strategies have been watched over and over and a bubbling element of disdain has surfaced as these two teams start to really get familiar with one another.

That's what the Stanley Cup playoffs are all about, and if the Blue Jackets and Penguins weren't big fans of each other before, that's certainly been taken care of over the past 10 days. 

Keeping emotions in check and worrying about the task at hand (without looking ahead) will be a mental challenge for both sides, and a benefit for the Jackets and Penguins is that this series has been chock full of mental hurdles. They're battle-hardened at this point and given all the ups and downs of the first four games, they'll be equipped to handle whatever comes next.

The Blue Jackets, riding high after an overtime victory in Game 4, had a short time to enjoy that win but it is now part of the past. Their focus is doing the right things in Game 5, weathering the predictable early storm from the Penguins in their home rink, establishing their game and going to work.  


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