BLUE JACKETS 3 | PENGUINS 5
Ryan Johansen Goal
Nick Foligno Goal
ANALYSIS: The Blue Jackets paid for some penalties in the second period, and on the second night of a back-to-back, they could not afford to put the Penguins on the power play. They gave them a 5-on-3 in the second period, and Pittsburgh needed only eight seconds to convert, and in total, the Penguins have three power plays goals tonight. They've scored four straight goals since James Wisniewski scored on the power play in the first period -- and so the Jackets are staring at a 4-1 deficit through two periods at CONSOL Energy Center. If they're going to get back in this, it's going to take a) some better discipline and b) an early third period goal or two to make this interesting.
ANALYSIS: A solid road period for the Blue Jackets, who scored the opening goal on the power play and had the better of play in the early going. James Wisniewski got the goal (a 4-on-3 tally) when, a few minutes earlier, it appeared as though he may have to leave the game after blocking a Sidney Crosby slap shot. He missed one shift after going back to the room and returned after the media timeout, just in time to pound a Ryan Johansen feed short-side on Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Jackets a 1-0 lead. The Penguins responded just over a minute later on a switch-off play between Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin, with Malkin circling high in the zone before sending a backhander through traffic and past McElhinney. Nonethless, a good start for the Jackets who are looking to break a five-game skid. Shots are 11-10 favoring the Penguins.
James Wisniewski Goal
UPDATE (2:50 PM): With no Brandon Dubinsky tonight, Richards said it will be a group effort to defend the Penguins' top lines and Sidney Crosby's unit in particular. Dubinsky vs. Crosby has been the go-to matchup for Richards, but in this game, the Blue Jackets will have to check by committee.
UPDATE (2:40 PM): Todd Richards has announced that Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Blue Jackets tonight.
Good afternoon, everyone!
It's another early-evening affair, as the Blue Jackets take on the Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh for the second time in 11 days. The Jackets took down the Penguins 2-1 on that night, thanks to a shorthanded goal from Brandon Dubinsky late in the third period. Since then the Blue Jackets are winless in their last five games, while the Penguins have won three in a row.
In addition to stringing together a few wins, the Penguins have also been off since Wednesday and will be well-rested when the Jackets come to town. That means the Jackets will face Marc-Andre Fleury, whom the Pens announced as their starting goaltender earlier in the day. Fleury's eight shutouts this season lead the league and are already a single-season Penguins record. Fleury has given up only 10 goals in his last eight starts combined.
- The Blue Jackets will want to solve Fleury early in this one, as he has been hard to beat and goals have been equally hard to come by for Columbus. The Jackets have ten goals in their past six games, and they have yielded the game's first goal in all five games of their current losing streak. The Jackets last held a lead in Pittsburgh, when they opened the scoring with a first period goal from Scott Hartnell.
- David Clarkson had a good showing in his first game with the Blue Jackets. He was among the team leaders in SAT at even strength at plus-7 and was getting his opportunities in front of the net. Today will be his first road game with Columbus.
- Daniel Winnik will be making his debut for Pittsburgh after being acquired from the Maple Leafs earlier in the week. Winnik has had success against the Jackets this year, with two goals and five points in two games with the Maple Leafs.
- Sergei Bobrovsky made his return to the lineup last night and served as Curtis McElhinney's back-up. Dalton Prout and Brian Gibbons also returned to the Jackets' line-up after lengthy injuries. We'll have more on Bobrovsky's role in tonight's game after Todd Richards meets with the media.