Game Preview #13: Second Verse, Same As The First?

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Same teams, same time, different building. What will be the result?

Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets

November 2, 2013 - 7:00 pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, OH
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: PensBurgh
SBN's Penguins vs Blue Jackets coverage
Tickets

Well, aside from four minutes of the second period, I thought it was actually a pretty even game. Sorta. Kinda. Maybe. Ah, hell, I don't know. At least we didn't have a line brawl and have to watch our backup goalie be a total punk.

Speaking of backup goalies, though, here's what we do know: Curtis McElhinney gets the start in goal, Nikita Nikitin is in on defense, though no word yet on who is sitting. No word yet on who gets the start in goal for the Penguins. It would be hard to sit Marc-Andre Fleury after the way he played last night, but just the same, the Penguins don't like to give him back-to-backs. The Pensburgh guys expect Jeff Zatkoff. We shall see.

Really, only a couple of things need to be said:

1) Stay out of the penalty box. Do I need to say more? Granted, I still think the penalty on David Savard for "hooking" that led to the Pens' first goal was about as phantom as they come, it doesn't matter. The Pens are dangerous EVERY time you go down a man.

2) Whatever is happening in the beginnings of the second period, I want it fixed. Not tomorrow, not after breakfast, NOW. It's ridiculous that the Jackets drove most of the play in the first period, and then came out looking like a hapless bunch in the first half of the second. Credit goes to Pittsburgh for making adjustments, but they didn't make *that* many adjustments that you give up three goals in five minutes.

CMac fought the puck a bit, but managed to make the saves (that Malkin dual-post-ringer notwithstanding) that allowed the Jackets to try to get back into the game (and, at the rate they were going, if the game had been, like, seven more periods I think they had a shot!). Hopefully he can bring some of that calm again tonight. He looked good against Vancouver in his only other start, and they guys played calm solid defense in front of him. More, please!

One also has to hope that whomever starts for Pittsburgh in net isn't playing as well as Fleury did last night. If it's Zatkoff, I don't think he *can* play that well. If it's Fleury, the Jackets need to test him early and often again and get some doubt into his head.

Most of all, can we PLEASE have some actual Columbus fans at this game? The Buckeyes game was a noon kick, and was basically over before it started. I don't want to see 8,000 Penguins fans in the barn again.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(5-7-0, 10 Points; 5th division, 12th conference)

Nick Foligno Artem Anisimov Marian Gaborik
Mark Letestu Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Blake Comeau Ryan Johansen R.J. Umberger
Michael Chaput Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Dalton Prout
Jack Johnson David Savard
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Curtis McElhinney
Sergei Bobrovsky

Pittsburgh Penguins
(10-4-0, 20 Points; 1st division, 2nd conference)

Chris Kunitz Sidney Crosby Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen Evgeni Malkin Matt D`Agostini
Tanner Glass Brandon Sutter Chuck Kobasew
Dustin Jeffrey Joe Vitale Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen Kris Letang
Olli Maatta Robert Bortuzzo
Jeff Zatkoff
Marc-Andre Fleury

Season Series

11/01/13 - Columbus 2 at Pittsburgh 4
11/02/13 - Pittsburgh at Columbus
12/09/13 - Columbus at Pittsburgh
12/29/13 - Pittsburgh at Columbus
03/28/14 - Pittsburgh at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Pittsburgh Columbus
3.14 (8) GPG 2.67 (17)
2.36 (8) GAPG 2.75 (15)
22.4% (8) PP% 18.2% (18)
80.0% (21) PK% 75.6% (27)
Sidney Crosby, 8 G leader Marian Gaborik, 5
Sidney Crosby, 14 A leader James Wisniewski, 9
Sidney Crosby, 22 Pts leader Marian Gaborik / James Wisniewski, 10
Matt Niskanen, 13 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 32
3-2-0 Road/Home 3-3-0
11/01 vs. Columbus, W 4-2 Last Game 11/01 @ Pittsburgh, L 4-2
7-3-0 Last 10 4-6-0

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