After losing three straight games during the waning moments of October, the Pittsburgh Penguins have rebounded to end the month and enter November with two consecutive victories. Tonight, the Penguins welcome new Metropolitan division and neighboring state rival, Columbus Blue Jackets. Pittsburgh is coming off a hard-fought victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, and the Blue Jackets enter Pittsburgh looking to recover from a loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
When and where: Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh, PA); 7:00 pm/et (Root Sports, FS-O)
Records: Penguins (9-4-0, 18 pts.); Blue Jackets (5-6-0, 10 pts.)
Last meeting: The Penguins and Blue Jackets met twice during this past preseason, but the two franchises haven’t faced-off against one another in the regular season since February 26, 2012. On that Sunday afternoon, the Penguins got goals from Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Joe Vitale, and Pascal Dupuis to put Columbus away, 4-2. With Brent Johnson injured, and Marc-Andre Fleury needing a day off, Brad Thiessen stepped in to stop twenty-two of twenty-four shots to earn the victory.
Players to keep an eye on:
1. Sergei Bobrovsky: The twenty-five year old goaltender won the first regular season game at Consol Energy Center when he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, and since then he has been almost unbeatable inside the Penguins’ barn. It also doesn’t hurt that he is coming off a season that saw him win the Vezina trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender.
2. Marc-Andre Fleury: Since we’re talking goaltenders, the Penguins aren’t too shabby in that department either. Fleury is tied for the NHL lead in wins with nine, and has the third highest GAA among goaltenders that have appeared in ten or more games.
Ex-Penguin alert: HC Todd Richards (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins HC from 2006-2008), C Ryan Craig (2011), C Mark Letestu (2006-2012), LW R.J. Umberger (never a Penguin, but was born in Pittsburgh), Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations Craig Patrick (Penguins GM from 1989-2006)
Penguins: G Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), D Rob Scuderi (broken ankle), LW James Neal (upper body), RW Beau Bennett (lower body), RW Chuck Kobasew (lower body)
Blue Jackets: RW Nathan Horton (shoulder), LW Matt Calvert (abdominal surgery), C Boone Jenner (leg), C Cody Bass (broken thumb)
-Sidney Crosby was named the NHL’s second star of October after scoring twenty-one points (8G, 13A) in thirteen games.
-Tonight is game one of a home-and-home series between Pittsburgh and Columbus. They will play again tomorrow night in Columbus.
-185 miles separate Pittsburgh and Columbus.
-It’s the dad’s trip for the Blue Jackets.
-No captain for Columbus.
Penguins (via Emptynetters)
14 Chris Kunitz (A)-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis
36 Jussi Jokinen-71 Evgeni Malkin (A)-59 Jayson Megna
15 Tanner Glass-16 Brandon Sutter-22 Matt D’Agostini
5 Deryk Engelland-46 Joe Vitale-27 Craig Adams
44 Brooks Orpik-7 Paul Martin
2 Matt Niskanen-58 Kris Letang
41 Robert Bortuzzo-3 Olli Maatta
29 Marc-Andre Fleury (9-2-0, .927 Save %, 1.81 GAA, 1 SO)
Blue Jackets (via bluejackets.nhl.com)
71 Nick Foligno-42 Artem Anisimov-10 Marian Gaborik
55 Mark Letestu-17 Brandon Dubinsky (A)-13 Cam Atkinson
14 Blake Comeau-19 Ryan Johansen-18 R.J. Umberger
39 Michael Chaput-24 Derek MacKenzie-40 Jared Boll (A)
51 Fedor Tyutin-47 Dalton Prout
27 Ryan Murray-21 James Wisniewski
7 Jack Johnson (A)-58 David Savard
72 Sergei Bobrovsky (4-6-0, .916 Save %, 2.60 GAA, 0 SO)