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Penguins at Blue Jackets preview

Marino can tie rookie point streak mark for Pittsburgh defenseman; Columbus eyes fifth win in seven

by Craig Merz / Independent Correspondent

PENGUINS (14-7-4) at BLUE JACKETS (10-10-4)



The Game

The Pittsburgh Penguins seek to extend their winning streak to four games and point streak to seven games when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Friday.

The Penguins, who have scored 15 goals in winning three straight, are 4-0-2 in their past six games.

John Marino, who has seven points (one goal, six assists) in a six-game point streak, can tie the Pittsburgh record for a point streak by a rookie defenseman, a seven-game run by Randy Boyd from Jan. 15-29, 1983.

The Blue Jackets, 4-2-0 in their past six games after going 1-5-2 in their previous eight games, have scored the first goal in nine consecutive games (5-3-1).

Columbus is 1-6-3 in its past 10 regular-season games against Pittsburgh.


Players to watch

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past six games and 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 25 games against Columbus.

Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a five-game point streak.


They said it

"We're confident. If we keep playing the way we've been playing, once we get a healthy lineup, we believe we're really rolling." -- Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson

"Goal scoring has been tough. There's a lot of guys in this room, myself included, who feel like they should score more. We've got to get better in that area for sure." -- Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist on Columbus ranking 29th in the NHL in scoring with 2.54 goals per game


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Evgeni Malkin -- Bryan Rust

Dominik Kahun -- Jared McCann -- Patric Hornqvist

Alex Galchenyuk -- Sam Lafferty -- Brandon Tanev

Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Dominik Simon

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Jack Johnson -- John Marino

Marcus Pettersson -- Zach Trotman

Tristan Jarry

Matt Murray

Scratched: Juuso Riikola, Chad Ruhwedel

Injured: Sidney Crosby (core muscle surgery), Nick Bjugstad (lower body), Justin Schultz (lower body)


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Boone Jenner -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Nick Foligno -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Cam Atkinson

Sonny Milano -- Alexander Wennberg -- Josh Anderson

Alexandre Texier -- Riley Nash -- Emil Bemstrom

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Ryan Murray -- David Savard

Vladislav Gavrikov -- Dean Kukan

Joonas Korpisalo

Elvis Merzlikins

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Eric Robinson

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Markus Nutivaara (upper body), Kole Sherwood (oblique)


Status report

Rust slipped during the morning skate and crashed skates-first into the boards. He briefly left the ice, but coach Mike Sullivan said he is fine. … Nash returns to replace Robinson after being a healthy scratch in four straight games.


Stat pack

Guentzel has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in a six-game point streak. He has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 12 games against Columbus. … Kahun has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past six games. … Rust has 10 points (four goals, 10 assists) in his past six games. … Werenski has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past eight games and is one assist shy of 100 in the NHL. … The Blue Jackets' 17 one-goal games (9-4-4) are the most in the League.

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