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Pens-Blue Jackets Friday Game Blog

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

0:00: And that's all folks!! The Penguins are 2-0 in the preseason following a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The two teams will take the ice tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in the "Ultimate Home Game" at CONSOL Energy Center. Game time is 7 p.m.

Well this Kubalik kid is making quite a name for himself tonight at Nationwide Arena. He just finished off his hat trick, converting a Klesla feed from five feet away, to draw the Jackets within one. Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 4.

Now that the Penguins appear to have this one in control, things are getting chippy out on the ice. Mike Commodore took exception to Chris Kunitz whacking away at a rebound. Kunitz was given a slashing penalty on the play.

The Penguins will finish this contest on a power play unless they score following a minor to R.J. Umberger.

Rostislav Klesla ansd Seryk Engelland mix it up and recei ve coincidental minors. In case I have mentioned it, I really love  the physical element Engelland brings to the equation.

Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland have made their fair share of strong defensive plays tonight. That's going to be huge for both if they are going to be the team's No. 5 and 6 defensemen.


Not sure how Mark Letestu is not going to make this team. He has been the star of camp thus far in my eyes and that fact was just reinforced right there. Letestu took a Kunitz pass in the slot, danced around a Blue Jacket defender and placed a perfect pass onto the stick of Comrie at the doorstep for the tap-in goal. Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 3.

Mike Rupp took exception Tom Sestito taking a run at Goligoski so he slams him into the glass in the near boards of the Penguins zone. Somehow in all the pushing and shoving that ensued only a roughing call to Rupp was called.

The power play is clicking on all cylinders tonight! Nick Johnson just re-gave the Penguins the lead, 4-3, by snapping off a 30-foot wrist shot from the top of the right circle behind Garon for his first goal of the preseason. Assists went to Steve Wagner and Dustin Jeffrey. Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 3.

So I'm in love with Nationwide Arena. How can you not love a rink that provides David sunflower seeds in the media level. Penguins director of communications Jen Bullano and I have spent all game chowing down!

After a brief commercial break the Penguins will head to the man-advantage again as Rostislav Klesla is in the sin bin for the second time today.

I'll tell you what, Craig Adams doesn't get enough credit for the work he does in the defensive zone. The man blocks shots, uses the body and is very effective at winning puck battles down low. He is a well-deserving choice of the "A" tonight.

John Curry replaces Brent Johnson between the pipes. Johnson finished the night stopping 18 of 21 shots.


So I promised earlier that I would show the pictures that made my night. Without further adu, here you go! I was walking through the concourse at Nationwide Arena when I noticed a silent auction. Yes, the Penguins, Steelers and Blue Jackets memorabilia was nice, but what really tempted me to slap some money down for a good cause was these autographed pictures of Carrie Underwood (left) and Taylor Swift (right). Yes, I am a huge fan of both.

- Thus far the Penguins are 2-for-7 on the man-advantage while Columbus is 1-for-3. It feels like there have been so many more calls than that, however.
- Arron Asham and Craig Adams lead the Penguins with three hits apiece.
- Ben Lovejoy and Mike Comrie each have two blocked shots.

After two periods in Columbus the score is all even at 3-3. Pittsburgh has received goals thus far from Arron Asham, Mike Rupp and Chris Kunitz. The shots on goal are 24-11 in favor of the Penguins.

We couldn't finish up the period without a few more penalties being called. Coincidental minors again. Goligoski an interference call for Pittsburgh and Clark a tripping minor for Columbus.

The Penguins play a little pinball on the power play and they even the score. Mark Letestu turns and fires from the top of the high slot. Letestu's shot hits off a Blue Jacket forward standing in front of him and then bounces off Kunitz in front of the cage before jumping over the shoulder of Garon. Penguins 3, Blue Jackets 3.

You have to love seeing the Road Runner. He was my favorite cartoon character as a kid. This kind of made my night ... Well until some pictures you will see later.

ou have to love seeing the Road Runner. He was my favorite cartoon character as a kid. This kind of made mI bet you can't guess what this entry will say? Yes, you are correct another penalty call. ! After a couple in a row assessed to the Penguins, it's now Columbus in the box as Chris Clark takes a seat for holding Matt Cooke behind Garon.

Pittsburgh kills off both penalties and major kudos there has to go to the three killers who were out for the entire five-on-three - Craig Adams, Maxime Talbot and Deryk Engelland. Also, Brent Johnson made a fine pad save on an Anton Stralman blast from the left point.

It seems like the penalties have come in bunches tonight. This time Cooke gets caught for boarding, putting Columbus on a 1:43 two-man advantage.

We had a little bit of old-time firewagon hockey up and down the ice there, but unfortunately during the sequence the Penguins Ben Lovejoy picked up a hooking penalty during an odd-man rush for Columbus.

A little rough-housing after the play results in the Penguins Craig Adams and Columbus' Mike Blunden picking up coincidental roughing minors. We will skate four-on-four.


Commodore just received a reminder of what Deryk Engelland would bring to the Penguins' lineup if he makes the big team. Commodore was in deep on the play when Engelland rather easily slammed him to the ice in the near corner. Oh, and in case that isn't impressive to you, Commodore stands 6-foot-5 compared to Engelland's 6-foot-2 frame.

Pittsburgh is unable to capitalize on the Goloubef minor and for once this period we are skating five-on-five.

Another whistle and another penalty. Cody Goloubef picked up a tripping minor after hauling down the Penguins Steve Wagner.


The Penguins might need a timeout to regroup here. Kyle Wilson just gave the Blue Jackets their first lead of the night as he walked down the right wing on a two-on-one and ripped an unassisted tally over the shoulder of Brent Johnson. Blue Jackets 3, Penguins 2.

I had never heard of Tomas Kubalik before tonight to be honest with you, but I definitely know his name now. Kubalik just picked up his second goal of the night, a power-play tally, off a Vermette feed. Both Kubalik's goals have covered a total of I'd say about two feet. Penguins 2, Blue Jackets 2.

We have a parade to the penalty box. Alex Goligoski is the guilty party this time for goaltender interference. Goligoski showed a powerful skating stride creating the opportunity for himself, but then once he got into the crease he proceeded to run Garon over.

Plum native R.J. Umberger just took a tripping penalty, but that was quickly negated by a tripping call to the Penguins Steve Wagner.

The goal light continues to go off behind Garon even though play has long resumed. Of course, maybe the goal judge is just making things easy on himself considering the Penguins have scored seven times in their first four periods of the season.

And the second period is under way with both team skating with five players aside.


You have to love the cannon at Nationwide Arena. I stop by and grab a picture each time I come.

- Mike Comrie has been a shot machine through the first two games. He recorded five shots during the first period
- Pittsburgh won the faceoff battle, 8-5, led by Mark Letestu's 3-0 mark.
- Alex Goligoski logged a team-high 9:32 minutes of ice time.

Eighty minutes into the 2010-11 preseason and the Penguins still have yet to trail at any point. The score after 20 minutes in Columbus is 2-1 in favor of Pittsburgh. The Penguins also hold a 14-5 shots advantage.

If you are wondering what the addition of a guy like Paul Martin is going to do for the Penguins defensive zone coverage, just look at the last shift. Twice, Martin was able to stickhandle through the Columbus forecheck - the first time in the far corner of his own zone and later from the top of his own zone through the neutral zone, where he was able to gain center red and get his linemates a change.

That goal by Kubalik seems to have woken up the Blue Jackets, who follow up with a couple more strong shifts as Brent Johnson is finally seeing some work. Shots are currently 13-4 in favor of the Penguins.

Antoine Vermette likes playing against the Penguins as he factors into another goal against them. Vermette skated the puck down the left wing and laid a perfect pass onto the blade of Tomas Kubalik at the right of the crease for the easy goal. Penguins 2, Blue Jackets 1.


You knew the Penguins were that close to tallying and their persistence finally paid off. Steve Wagner broke his stick at the center point, but the puck came to Chris Conner along the right-wing boards. Conner walked to the net and fed Mike Rupp on the doorstep for the power-play tally. Penguins 2, Blue Jackets 0.

Pittsburgh dominated that first minute of the two-man, but the former Penguin Garon made a couple of nice saves on Nick Johnson and Goligoski to keep his team within one. Dustin Jeffrey is working the point on the second unit.

Chris Kunitz drives to the net looking for Mark Letestu's rebound and that forces Mike Commodore to hook him to the ice, giving the Penguins a full two-minute two-man advantage.

Pittsburgh is on the power play as Rostislav Klesla was given a double-minor for high-sticking Matt Cooke.


The Penguins defense is continuing a trend I noticed against Detroit on Wednesday - being very active in stepping up along the wall to keep pucks in the zone in the offensive end. With strong skaters like Martin, Letang, Goligoski, Orpik, Michalek and Lovejoy, the blue line is more than mobile enough to run such a system.

So the Cooke-Talbot-Asham line has two shifts in the books and both have been very successful. They didn't score on the last one, but they controlled the puck in the Columbus zone a good 30 seconds by establishing a strong presence down low cycling the puck.

We are barely 30 seconds into the game and the Penguins are already on the board!! Alex Goligoski pinches in on the right side boards and keeps the puck alive. Arron Asham was covering for Goligoski at the right point, took a drop pass from the Penguins blueliner and ripped a slap shot over the shoulder of former Penguins netminder Mathieu Garon. Penguins 1, Blue Jackets 0.

As usual, many Penguins fans have made the three-hour trek up Route 70 to watch the Penguins here tonight.



7:03 PM:
Based upon this morning's gameday skate, this is the lineup the Penguins are expected to use tonight:

N. Johnson-Jeffrey-Conner


7:00 PM:
Welcome to Nationwide Arena. The Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets meet for the front end of a home-and-home series. This is the Penguins' second preseason contest following a 5-1 victory over Detroit on Wednesday at CONSOL Energy Center.

While Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury and Evgeni Malkin did not make the trip, Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke, Maxime Talbot, Arron Asham and Paul Martin are among the regulars who did for the Penguins.

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