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Preview: Penguins at Blue Jackets

Pittsburgh missing defenseman Olli Maatta; Scott Hartnell likely out for Columbus

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

PENGUINS (36-13-7) at BLUE JACKETS (36-15-5)

7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports, FS-O, ROOT, NHL.TV

 

Penguins team scope

The Pittsburgh Penguins called up defensemen Cameron Gaunce and Steve Oleksy from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League and one or both could play Friday. Defenseman Olli Maatta is expected to miss six weeks after having surgery to repair a hand injury sustained in a 4-3 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. Another defenseman, Justin Schultz, left the game against the Jets in the second period because of an unspecified injury and did not return. Without Schultz and Maatta, Kris Letang had 31:07 of ice time; Ian Cole had 25:48, Trevor Daley played 25:22 and Brian Dumoulin 23:03. "The four guys who remained did a really good job under difficult circumstances," Sullivan said Thursday. The Penguins are 6-0-2 in their past eight games and are two points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for second place in the Metropolitan Division and five points behind the first-place Washington Capitals.

 

Blue Jackets team scope

Blue Jackets forward Scott Hartnell may miss a second straight game because of a lower-body injury. His replacement would be Oliver Bjorkstrand, who scored his first goal of the season in his sixth game, against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. The Blue Jackets are 2-2-0 during a seven-game homestand, and are playing their second of three straight games against opponents playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Blue Jackets defeated the Maple Leafs 5-2 one day after they had won 7-1 at home against the New York Islanders. "You [saw] them [Wednesday], they were tired at times," forward Matt Calvert said of the Maple Leafs. "We're going to have to take advantage of that the next two games because you don't get that very often, especially when you're sitting at home with your family waiting on them." The Blue Jackets host the Nashville Predators on Sunday after the Predators play at the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Coach John Tortorella said he is wary of the Penguins, even if they're fatigued. "I think it's a lot easier to play the second game because your second wind kicks in and the game is simplified," he said Thursday.

 

Penguins projected lineup

Chris Kunitz -- Sidney Crosby -- Jake Guentzel

Scott Wilson -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Matt Cullen -- Nick Bonino -- Phil Kessel

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Carter Rowney -- Eric Fehr

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Ian Cole -- Steve Oleksy

Chad Ruhwedel -- Trevor Daley

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Josh Archibald , Cameron Gaunce

Injured: Conor Sheary (upper body), Carl Hagelin (concussion), Bryan Rust (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Justin Schultz (upper body)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Matt Calvert -- Lukas Sedlak -- Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Markus Nutivaara -- Ryan Murray

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Dalton Prout, Scott Harrington

Injured: Scott Hartnell (lower body)

 

Status report

Neither team held a morning skate Friday. ... Murray may start after Fleury made 44 saves in the win against Winnipeg on Thursday. Hagelin, out since sustaining a concussion Feb. 4, could return. … Bobrovsky is expected to play after Korpisalo got the win against the Maple Leafs.

 

Who's hot

Crosby has five goals and 19 points in the past 15 games. Kessel has seven goals and three assists in the past nine games. … Dubinsky has three goals and six assists in the past seven games.

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