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Blue Jackets, Penguins rekindle rivalry in Columbus

by Katie Foglia / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Pittsburgh Penguins are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games on the heels of a 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

In that game, John Tavares opened the scoring for the Islanders with a power play goal at 8:04 of the first period, but Kris Letang scored later in the frame at 13:13 to level the score for Pittsburgh.

After a goalless second period, Anders Lee scored a power play goal with 11:05 remaining in the third period to break the tie and secure the Islanders eventual 2-1 win.

With the Islanders win over the Penguins, and their 4-3 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, they have moved past the Penguins into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins are in the midst of a playoff push and looking to secure their position in the standings. That push is currently being led by captain Sidney Crosby (who had a bit of a slump earlier in the season), who is riding a six-game point streak with three goals and seven assists in those games.

A few notes on the Blue Jackets: Columbus won its most recent outing, a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets are 5-3-2 in their last 10, and 15-12-6 at home overall. Their game against Pittsburgh will mark the second of a five-game home stand.

Blue Jackets No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was activated off of IR this week and is slated to start in between the pipes against Pittsburgh.
 





The last meeting between the Blue Jackets and Penguins was back on Dec. 21 at CONSOL Energy Center. Columbus started that game on time and played a strong opening period, but a letdown in the second period proved to be the difference in the game.

Alexander Wennberg opened the scoring for the Blue Jackets at 5:41 of the first and they kept a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. Pittsburgh scored four goals the second period, making it 4-1 in favor of the home team after 40.

Boone Jenner got one back for Columbus at 5:23 of the third period, but Evgeni Malkin iced it in the final minutes of the game, making it a 5-2 final.

The Blue Jackets are 10-13-3 in the all-time series against the Penguins. In the 2015-16 season, the Jackets are 2-1-0 in the first three meetings.

 





No. 87 is the player to keep an eye on as he goes through a hot streak that has his team right back in the thick of the race. Crosby currently leads the team with 66 points (28 goals and 38 assists), which is good enough for sixth best in the NHL.

Crosby’s 28 goals also give him the team lead in that category. His goal breakdown: nine power play and six game-winning goals; the only player with more assists is defenseman Kris Letang, who has 39.

The 28-year-old Nova Scotia native was selected by Pittsburgh at No. 1 overall during the 2005 NHL Draft, and is in the midst of his 11th NHL season. In 692 career games, Crosby’s scored 330 goals and added 589 assists.

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