Alright, since the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets played last night, with the Penguins taking the win, this preview won’t really tell you anything new. But, since you’re already here, feel free to continue reading.
When and where: Nationwide Arena (Columbus, OH); 7:00 pm/et (Root Sports, FS-O, RDS)
Records: Penguins (10-4-0, 20 pts.); Blue Jackets (5-7-0, 10 pts.)
Last meeting: In case you didn’t catch it earlier, the Penguins and Blue Jackets faced each other last night in their first game of a home-and-home weekend series. The Penguins defended their home ice, defeating the Jackets, 4-2, on goals from Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, Brandon Sutter, and Jayson Megna. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped thirty-seven of thirty-nine Columbus shots to pick up his tenth win of the season.
Players to keep an eye on:
1. Mark Letestu: It’s hard to pick out one player from the Blue Jackets after a lot of them were invisible last night, so why not Mark Letestu? The ex-Penguin only has one goal in twelve games this season, so you can say that he’s due.
2. Brandon Sutter: The youngest of Brent Sutter’s sons, Brandon Sutter has scored goals in back-to-back games including one last night against these same Columbus Blue Jackets. The twenty-four year old center is also showing up in the faceoff circle, winning eighty-five out of 107 draws (55.7%; 2nd on the team).
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)
-Ten points separate the Penguins and Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan division standings.
-Penguins cancelled their morning skate today.
-The Blue Jackets name comes from and pays homage to Ohio’s Civil War history. Just so you know.
-Could be a lot of Penguins fans in Columbus tonight.
-Todd Richards hinted that defenseman Nikita Nikitin could be inserted into the lineup tonight.
Projected lines (based off the lines from last night):
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-27 Craig Adams
17 Dustin Jeffrey-46 Joe Vitale-5 Deryk Engelland
44 Brooks Orpik-7 Paul Martin
2 Matt Niskanen-58 Kris Letang
41 Robert Bortuzzo-3 Olli Maatta
37 Jeff Zatkoff (0-2-0, .818 Save %, 5.04 GAA, 0 SO)
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
6 Nikita Nikitin?
31 Curtis McElhinney (1-0-0, .962 Save %, 1.25 GAA, 0 SO)