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Game Preview: Penguins vs. Blue Jackets

The struggling Columbus Blue Jackets come to Pittsburgh for a game against the Penguins

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports


The Opponent

Wooo boy. What can you say about the Columbus Blue Jackets ? They started the year with a dreadful 0-7-0 start that cost Todd Richards his job and tapped John Tortorella, of all people, to replace him. Since then they're 4-5-0, which is some progress but given the terrible goaltending they were getting, it was just a matter of time before they stabilized somewhat.

No surprise, there's been no happily ever after with Torts, who was so displeased with the Jackets at practice yesterday he stopped it to make them all do pushups on the ice for punishment.

Yikes

Television: Root Sports

Radio: 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh, also streaming on pittsburghpenguins.com

SB NHL Blog: The Cannon

Keys to the Game

Never look back - Columbus has given up 16 first period goals (tied-4th most in league), and they're 0-5-0 this season when trailing after the first period. Conversely, the Penguins are 8-0-0 when scoring the first goal of the game. Columbus has gone into the locker-room after 2 periods losing in 11 out of their 16 games this season (losing 10 of them). This is a team that's used to playing from behind, and really, used to losing games. The Penguins need to get that first goal of the game and then they might be off to the races.

Beau 'n Go - Beau Bennett made a couple of nice plays last game, his first on a line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. Perfect game against a weak opponent defensively for the Pens to control the puck and generate a lot of scoring chances. Wonderful opportunity for Bennett to stand out and show that he deserves a 3rd game on the top line.

But really, score a lot of goals - Bobrovsky has a good career record against the Pens (9-8-1, including playoffs) but has given up over 3 goals a game in doing so. This season his GAA is an astronomical 3.65, and his save percentage is a measly .882%, in a league where the average right now is up around .928%. The Penguins need to feast on this, a good goalie but one in a bit of a rut. Bobrovsky appeared to settle in last week - allowing 4 goals in 2 games (both wins) against LA and SJ, but his last go out he gave up 5 in a loss. The Penguins offense really should be coming closer to 5 goals than just 2, tonight.

Expected CBJ Lines

Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno

Scott Hartnell - Brandon Dubinsky - Brandon Saad

Matt Calvert - William Karlsson - Cam Atkinson

Jared Boll - Gregory Campbell - Rene Bourque

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Jack Johnson - David Savard

Fedor Tyutin - Ryan Murray

Kevin Connauton - Cody Goloubef

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Sergei Bobrovsky / Curtis McElhinney

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Not a terrible lineup, really. And their top players ARE scoring, the problem has just been defensively they have been totally unable to stop the other team from scoring.

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Infographic

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