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Jackets' Umberger possible for Game 2, Foligno out

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Protocol dictates RJ Umberger's return to the Columbus Blue Jackets lineup from an upper-body injury will be decided after consultation between him, the medical staff and coach Todd Richards.

Otherwise, the forward would have been on the ice Wednesday for the Blue Jackets' 4-3 loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"If it was up to me I would have played last night," Umberger said Thursday when asked if he'll be ready for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series Saturday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT).

Forward Nick Foligno (knee) said he is close to being cleared to play as well, but Richards offered a different opinion on his status.

"Foligno won't be in the lineup Saturday," he said. "We're hoping possibly Monday for Game 3. We're going to see how practice goes Friday for RJ. There's a possibility he can play in Game 2."

If Umberger plays Saturday, the likely candidates to come out are Jared Boll, Jack Skille or Corey Tropp.

Umberger, who has missed the past four games, would bring postseason experience to a team lacking in that category. The lineup Wednesday had a combined 251 playoff games compared to 1,154 for the Penguins.

Yet Richards said the young Blue Jackets weren't overwhelmed when the Penguins roared back with the final three goals after trailing 3-1.

"I didn't come out of the game thinking we looked inexperienced or we were hesitant or watching and waiting for something to happen," he said. "I didn't mind the way we started the game. We weren't perfect. There were mistakes. Those are things as coaches we've got to address and try to fix or repair, but I don't think it was anything from inexperience or youth."

Umberger has 14 goals and five assists in 26 playoff games. All but four of the games came with the Philadelphia Flyers. He, Boll and defenseman Fedor Tyutin are the three players remaining from the Blue Jackets' postseason appearance in 2009, when they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.

Foligno, out since April 4 (six games), appeared in 17 playoff games with the Ottawa Senators over three seasons and had two goals and four assists. He's eager to make his Blue Jackets postseason debut but wants to make sure he is fully healthy.

"This is the best time of the year," he said. "It's tough to be watching from the press box. You want to be out there helping your teammates.

"I'm hoping to feel 100 percent. I feel like I'm getting close to that and I want to make sure that's something I'm feeling when I get out there. I don't want to be a cause of concern for the team."

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