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Umberger returns for Blue Jackets; Foligno not ready

by Wes Crosby

PITTSBURGH -- Columbus Blue Jackets forward RJ Umberger will return Saturday, and forward Nick Foligno remains sidelined for at least one more game.

Umberger will play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT).

Umberger missed the past five games, including the opener of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with an upper-body injury.

"It's definitely hard to watch, especially a playoff game in my hometown," Umberger said. "You want to be out there as much as you can, helping your guys and your team. It was hard, but I'm excited to be back tonight."

Umberger worked at third-line left wing alongside forwards Artem Anisimov and Blake Comeau during the Saturday morning skate.

Foligno will not play for the eighth consecutive game due to a lower-body injury. After being ruled out Thursday for Game 2, Foligno performed well enough at practice Friday to upgrade his status to questionable.

He skated after Columbus' skate and Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said he hopes he will be ready to play in Game 3.

The Penguins' lines at their morning skate looked identical to those used at the end of Game 1. After beginning the opener at third-line left wing, forward Brian Gibbons will move to first-line right wing, forward Beau Bennett works the third line, and forward Tanner Glass plays alongside forwards Joe Vitale and Craig Adams on the fourth.

Pittsburgh will tweak its power play by adding defenseman Matt Niskanen to its top unit in place of defenseman Kris Letang, who normally plays with forwards Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and James Neal.

"The power-play guys that we have, they're pretty proud players, but there are times where you have to park your pride this time of year," Niskanen said. "[Penguins coach Dan Bylsma] has to make the decision on who's going to be out there and he's going to play who he thinks is doing the right things at that time.

"It doesn't mean anything is permanent, so right now it's about results and winning the hockey games and that's it."

The Penguins also used a configuration with defenseman Paul Martin on the top unit, replacing Neal. Letang moved to their second unit during the skate.

Here are the projected lineups:


Boone JennerRyan JohansenJack Skille

Matt CalvertBrandon DubinskyCam Atkinson

RJ UmbergerArtem AnisimovBlake Comeau

Derek MacKenzieMark LetestuCorey Tropp

Ryan MurrayJames Wisniewski

Fedor TyutinJack Johnson

Nikita NikitinDavid Savard

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Matt Frattin, Nick Schultz, Jared Boll, Dalton Prout

Injured: Nathan Horton (abdominal), Nick Foligno (lower body)


Chris KunitzSidney CrosbyBrian Gibbons

Jussi JokinenEvgeni MalkinJames Neal

Beau BennettBrandon SutterLee Stempniak

Tanner GlassJoe VitaleCraig Adams

Kris LetangRob Scuderi

Brooks OrpikPaul Martin

Olli MaattaMatt Niskanen

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Jayson Megna, Taylor Pyatt, Robert Bortuzzo, Deryk Engelland

Injured: Marcel Goc (foot), Pascal Dupuis (ACL), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)

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