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Game Preview #56 - Which Way Are We Headed?

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The Jackets aren't in the playoff race, really, but they aren't technically out of it, either. The trade deadline is coming soon, and the schedule between now and then will tell the tale.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins

February 17th, 2015 - 7:00 PM EST
CONSOL Energy Center - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: PensBurgh

The Jackets next seven games before the trade deadline:

@New York Rangers
vs. Buffalo
vs. Montreal
vs. New Jersey
@ Pittsburgh

So, the Jackets could be "expected" to win, what, two of those? Right now they're smack in the middle of no-man's land. Not close to the playoffs, not close to the top of the draft. Which way will this team choose to go? I suspect this upcoming schedule will help them make their decisions.

No lineup updates as of yet re: Nick Foligno, but there is some hope he'll play. This is not the same Penguins lineup the Jackets hung on to beat in December. No mumps to be found.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(25-27-3, 53 Points; 6th division, 12th conference)

Scott Hartnell Ryan Johansen Corey Tropp
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Alexander Wennberg Artem Anisimov Marko Dano
Jack Skille Mark Letestu Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Fedor Tyutin Cody Goloubef
Kevin Connauton James Wisniewski
Curtis McElhinney
Anton Forsberg

Pittsburgh Penguins
(32-16-9, 73 Points; 3rd Division, 6th Conference)

Chris Kunitz Sidney Crosby David Perron
Blake Comeau Evgeni Malkin Patric Hornqvist
Nick Spaling Brandon Sutter Beau Bennett
Craig Adams Maxim Lapierre Steve Downie
Paul Martin Kris Letang
Rob Scuderi Simon Despres
Derrick Pouliot Robert Bortuzzo
Marc-Andre Fleury
Thomas Greiss

Season Series

PIT - 0-0-1
CBJ - 1-0-0

12/13/14 - Pittsburgh 3 at Columbus 4 (SO)
2/19/15 - Columbus at Pittsburgh
3/1/15 - Columbus at Pittsburgh
4/4/15 - Pittsburgh at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Pittsburgh Columbus
2.79 (12) GPG 2.60 (21)
2.44 (6) GAPG 3.11 (26)
20.3% (8) PP% 22.5% (5)
85.1% (6) PK% 80.6% (18)
Evgeni Malkin, 21 G leader Nick Foligno, 22
Sidney Crosby, 39 A leader Ryan Johansen, 31
Sidney Crosby, 58 Pts leader Nick Foligno / Ryan Johansen, 52
Steve Downie, 187 PIM leader Scott Hartnell, 78
18-9-3 Home/Road 13-13-1
5-4-1 Last 10 5-5-0
2/17 vs. Washington, L 3-1 Last Game 2/17 @ Philadelphia, W 5-2