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Penguins vs. Blue Jackets; preview, lineup, gamethread

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The last preseason game period, hooray!

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NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Columbus Blue Jackets

When: 7:00pm start

What: The 6th of 6 preseason games for the Pens (we made it!)

How to watch: you can’t! No but seriously I don’t think it’s being broadcast.

Roster: The Pens have released the lineup of the following players:

Goalies

1 Casey DeSmith

35 Tristan Jarry

Defense

2 Chad Ruhwedel

3 Olli Maatta

6 Jamie Oleksiak

8 Brian Dumoulin

50 Juuso Riikola

58 Kris Letang

Forwards

12 Dominik Simon

15 Riley Sheahan

17 Bryan Rust

19 Derick Brassard

38 Derek Grant

46 Zach Aston-Reese

59 Jake Guentzel

62 Carl Hagelin

71 Evgeni Malkin

72 Patric Hornqvist

81 Phil Kessel

87 Sidney Crosby

Another full lineup, basically speaking. Defenseman Justin Schultz (hand) and forward Daniel Sprong (knee) are officially “day to day” and being held out. In Schultz’s case he is expected to be available for the start of the real season on Thursday.

In Sprong’s case, the Pens general manager just told Josh Yohe, “we expected a little bit more from him.” This marks the second time in less than two weeks a member of Pens brass has had as much, with assistant coach Mark Recchi saying virtually the same thing.

Sprong finishes his uber-important pre-season with no goals, 1 assist and 7 shots on goal in 4 games. He got a lot of work early in the camp with Sidney Crosby but apparently hasn’t impressed much. And now he picked up an injury late in the last preseason game. At this point, the non-existent betting odds on him playing in the opening night lineup would have to be a longshot. Is this a bump in the road? Or a failed opportunity that will lead to being shuffled out of plans? Only time can tell but what was supposed to be a big training camp ends with a dud.

One far from dud performance in camp is everyone’s darling Juuso Riikola. He should be playing tonight in his 6th preseason game, the only player to even come close to playing in them all. The staff is clearly very enamored with this player, and for good reason, he’s played solidly in every opportunity.

All the big guns are also in the lineup tonight and gee you just hope no one gets hurt, this game gets forgotten about quickly and we all move on.

Interesting to see Riikola on a pair with Olli Maatta. With Jack Johnson a healthy scratch. Wait is this preseason or a fast-forward to February?