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Round 1

Blue Jackets optimistic despite trailing Penguins 2-0

Columbus feels it can start comeback at home in Game 3

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets were upbeat, maybe unreasonably so, when discussing Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN360, TVA Sports 2, FS-O, ROOT).

After all, the Blue Jackets lost the first two games of the best-of-7 series on the road and will not have forward Matt Calvert, who was suspended one game by the NHL Department of Player Safety for cross-checking forward Tom Kuhnackl at the end of a 4-1 loss in Game 2 on Friday.

Columbus lost Game 1 3-1 on Wednesday, stymied by the Penguins' shot blocking and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

But that didn't matter to Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno when he met the media Saturday after an optional skate in Columbus. He said the mood on the short flight from Pittsburgh after Game 2 left him feeling good about the Blue Jackets' chances of coming back in the series.

Video: The guys react to the Penguins' Game 2 victory

"I can say it was probably the weirdest ride home, only that we're down 2-0 and obviously not really enjoying the situation we're in, but the optimism in our room is incredible and how we feel about our game," the forward said. "That's a great team over there, and I'm not discrediting what they're doing, but there's so much good we're doing that it's going to break for us eventually.

"That's the feeling in the room. We're not down. We're excited coming home. We're going to have our fans behind us. It's amazing what that can do for a club."

That has been the message coach John Tortorella has stressed. He likes that the Blue Jackets have created chances and forced Fleury to make 70 saves in two games even though Pittsburgh has blocked 45 shots in the series.

"Our guys are good," Tortorella said. "They're looking forward to another opportunity. That's the way we have to look at this. This is an opportunity to put your best foot forward here."

Columbus will be without Calvert, who scored the Blue Jackets' goal in Game 1. Forward Sonny Milano was recalled from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Saturday and is likely to take Calvert's place.

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Bobrovsky makes a strong kick stop

"I think we've done a really good job playing in between the whistles. I think that's important to keep our discipline," Tortorella said. "Having said that, these guys are competitive guys and it's a very emotional game. Sometimes you kind of lose yourself a little bit. Do I want that to happen? No. I don't want to see that."

The Blue Jackets know that scoring one goal a game against the Penguins is a recipe for disaster.

"We've got to get out there, enjoy it, get back to having fun, enjoy the atmosphere, especially here at home," center Brandon Dubinsky said. "Everyone's got to go out there and relax a little bit.

"The goals will come. We've scored a lot of goals. We scored 10, eight, seven a couple of times in a game. This team can score some goals."

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