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CBJ Today: April 17

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

In the wake of last night's Game 1 loss at CONSOL Energy Center, the Blue Jackets hopped on their plane and made the 30-minute flight back to Columbus to recharge.

Many of the players remained off the ice today, but a small group gathered for a light skate at Nationwide Arena under the direction of assistant coaches Dan Hinote and Ian Clark. Among them were both RJ Umberger (upper body) and Nick Foligno (lower body), who have been out of the Blue Jackets' lineup for a couple of weeks and are itching to get into playoff games.

The Penguins had the day off from practice today and they'll get back at it on Friday morning in Pittsburgh.

Both Umberger and Foligno went through a variety of drills to work on conditioning and monitor where they are in recovery, with the hope that a positive result could possibly mean a return to the lineup for Game 2 on Saturday.

Following practice, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said Umberger will go through another practice tomorrow before determining if he's ready to go (it's a possibility), but said Foligno would not be cleared in time for Game 2.

"I"m feeling good, but now it's up to the coaches and our doctors," Umberger said after today's skate. "I'm just working hard, working as hard as I can to get back in there. I'm not going to talk about (his status for Game 2), I'll let the coaches talk about it."

The news wasn't as good for Foligno, who said today was the best he's felt since the injury but isn't quite ready to play.

"I feel like I'm getting closer, but I need to have a conversation with the doctors and (training staff) to see exactly what they're thinking," Foligno said. "This is the best time of year, it's tough to be watching from the press box when you want to be out there helping your teammates. They played a heck of a game yesterday (in Game 1) and it makes you want to be out there that much more.

"I definitely feel a lot better out there, a lot stronger...I'm really hoping to get in there soon."

It was pretty clear in Wednesday's opening game of the series that Richards wanted to get Brandon Dubinsky on the ice against Penguins captain Sidney Crosby as often as possible. Being the visiting coach and not having the last line change complicated things a bit, but Richards still had ample success in getting his preferred match-up.

Dubinsky did a solid job against Crosby, too: according to Mike Kelly of NHL Network, Dubinsky was on the ice for 20 of 26 shifts against Crosby and held him scoreless. Crosby recorded one assist last night but Dubinsky was not on the ice when the goal was scored.

Richards said he plans to keep that match-up intact for the foreseeable future, and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he would consider adjustments but didn't anticipate the match-up changing in Game 2. Artem Anisimov did most of the heavy lifting against Evgeni Malkin in Game 1.

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