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Blue Jackets hope reinforcements spur Game 2 win

by Wes Crosby


(Pittsburgh leads best-of-7 series, 1-0)


Big story: The Columbus Blue Jackets will again attempt to earn their first win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is also looking for his first playoff victory. The Pittsburgh Penguins and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury will look to take a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-7 series at Consol Energy Center before heading to Columbus after a 4-3 win in the opener.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: Columbus seemed like the more playoff-tested team early in Game 1, but allowed two quick goals after forward Derek MacKenzie scored shorthanded to give the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead 43 seconds into the second period. Columbus' penalty kill allowed two goals on three Pittsburgh power-play opportunities.

But the Blue Jackets will see the return of a key forward in Game 2. Pittsburgh native RJ Umberger will return on Saturday, while forward Nick Foligno could be back when the series shifts to Columbus for Game 3.

"I grew up going to these playoff games, this was my childhood and earlier in my career I got a chance to play in Mellon Arena," Umberger said. "The atmosphere was great [at Consol Energy Center in Game 1] and I'm anxious and really excited to get in there."

Penguins: Despite not playing its best, Pittsburgh came back from a two-goal deficit to win Game 1. The Penguins were outshot 34-32 and surrendered a power-play and shorthanded goal to the Blue Jackets. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma made adjustments throughout the game, including playing defenseman Kris Letang less in the third period due to two turnovers and a couple of costly penalties.

“He understands that play and maybe the other plays in the game that he would like to have back and weren’t good plays,” Bylsma said after practice Friday.

But Fleury responded to allowing three goals in the first 20:43 by making 31 saves to earn his 46th playoff victory and first since Game 3 of the opening round last year against the New York Islanders. He lost Game 4 and was replaced as the starter by Tomas Vokoun.

"Never mind last year," Fleury said Friday. "They're a tough team. They're a team that came at us pretty hard and they got a lead and it's good we didn't panic. It's in the past, last year, and it's one game at a time, one shot at a time."

Who's hot: Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky assisted on Jack Johnson's goal that gave Columbus a 1-0 lead 6:20 into the first period Wednesday. Dubinsky collected an assist in the Blue Jackets' final regular-season game against the Florida Panthers and scored five points in four games from April 1-6. … Penguins forward Brandon Sutter scored the game-winning goal while on a 2-on-1 in the third period of Game 1. It was Sutter's third playoff goal in 16 career games.

Injury report: There was hope Foligno (knee) could return Saturday, but coach Todd Richards said Saturday a Game 3 return is more realistic. The Blue Jackets will get Umberger (upper body) back in their lineup, but will still be without forward Nathan Horton (abdomen). … Penguins forward Marcel Goc (foot) has started skating on his own prior to practices and morning skates, but most likely will not play in this Eastern Conference First Round series.

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