BLUE JACKETS 2 | PENGUINS 1
Brandon Dubinsky Post Game
Ryan Johansen Post Game
Todd Richards Post Game
Brandon Dubinsky Goal
ANALYSIS: This has been a really entertaining hockey game tonight at CONSOL Energy Center, and if it wasn't obvious before, these two teams *really* don't like each other. It's gotten to the point where we've seen a Brandon Dubinsky vs. Sidney Crosby fight - which is something that, uh, not many people predicted coming into the game - and the intensity has kicked up a few notches with 20 minutes to play in a 1-1 game. How did we get to that point? Well, after Ryan Johansen had a great chance on Fleury, the Penguins transitioned quickly the other way and Evgeni Malkin buried a rebound under the crossbar to tie things up. There's been a little bit of everything so far and it's shaping up to be a fantastic third period. Shots are 20-19 in favor of Pittsburgh.
ANALYSIS: Another really solid first period for the Blue Jackets, and they deservedly took a 1-0 lead into the intermission -- if not for Marc-Andre Fleury, the lead could have been larger. Fleury made 11 saves in the opening 20 minutes and several of them were from close range, as the Blue Jackets went to work in the offensive zone and created turnovers and opportunities thanks to an aggressive forecheck. Scott Hartnell, a beloved figure in Pittsburgh, has the lone goal so far and it was a beauty; Alexander Wennberg (playing on the top line with Hartnell and Ryan Johansen tonight) jumped on a turnover and fed Hartnell in the slot, and he was all alone with Fleury from the top of the crease. Hartnell slid the puck inside the left post and around Fleury's pad to make it 1-0 Columbus. At the other end, the Jackets did well in their own zone and executed on the breakout, leading to transition offense and some quality time in the offensive zone. Shots are 12-6 Columbus.
Scott Hartnell Goal
Matt Calvert Pregame
Kevin Connauton Pregame
Todd Richards Pregame
UPDATE (12:30 PM): Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards has reportedly told the assembled media in Pittsburgh that Nick Foligno will take part in warm-ups before tonight's game with the intention of playing, according to Fox Sports Ohio's Dave Maetzold. A final call on his status will be made after warm-ups.
UPDATE (11:45 AM): According to Maetzold, Nick Foligno is on the ice at the Blue Jackets' morning skate, taking part in line rushes with Marko Dano and Artem Anisimov. Foligno missed Tuesday's game in Philadelphia with a lower-body injury.
UPDATE (11:00 AM): According to Sam Kasan of the Penguins' team website, Marc Andre-Fleury was the first goaltender off the ice for the Penguins at the morning skate, indicating he will likely start tonight for Pittsburgh.
It's a game day in the Steel City!
The Blue Jackets aren't expecting "warm and fuzzy" tonight as they get set for another showdown with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. The Jackets won their first Pennsylvania contest on Tuesday night with a 5-2 win against the Flyers. Now they'll face a Penguins team that has points in five of the last seven games, but are coming off a difficult home loss to the Washington Capitals and are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games.
The Blue Jackets may get their first look this season at two prominent members of the Penguins roster. Sidney Crosby didn't play at Nationwide Arena when these teams last met on Dec. 13, missing the game with what would be diagnosed as a case of the mumps. Marc-Andre Fleury watched that game from the sidelines as well, with Thomas Greiss getting the start for Pittsburgh in that game.
Here are some more pre-game notes to get you ready on a Blue Jackets game day:
- The Blue Jackets should be prepared for a bruising game. The last meeting between these two teams was intense and physical, with 86 penalty minutes being handed out during the night. That included the first fight of Jordan Leopold's career, proving no one is off-limits in a rivalry game.
- Steve Downie received the most discipline in the first meeting, 29 minutes in penalties thanks to a fight, two roughing penalties, and two 10-minute misconducts. The Blue Jackets will be without one of their more physical guys as Dalton Prout is still absent due to an upper-body injury. He racked up 14 PIM in the first meeting with Pittsburgh.
- The Jackets hope they won't also be missing Nick Foligno, who missed the game Tuesday night with a lower-body injury. Corey Tropp skated in Foligno's place on the top line in Philadelphia, registering an assist in 11:58 of ice time.
- The Jackets have a few players feeling pretty good heading into Pittsburgh. Scott Hartnell has points in seven straight games (3-6-9), Cam Atkinson has four goals and six points in the past six games, and Brandon Dubinsky is riding a three-game goal scoring streak (3-2-5).
- James Wisniewski's power play goal Tuesday night was the team's second in the past 25 opportunities, both scored by Wisniewski. The penalty kill has had more success, killing off 29 off 33 power plays (87.9 percent) in the past 11 games and perfect in eight of those games. The Penguins power play ranks eighth in the league at 20.3 percent. They have not ranked worse than 5th on the power play since the 2010-11 season, when they were 25th.