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Game Preview 5(X): Saad, Sid & Phil

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Some brand names will be on the ice in Pittsburgh, and fireworks are likely to follow.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Saturday, September 26, 2015 - 4:00 PM EDT
Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Radio: WBNS 1460 AM   TV: NHL Network
Opponent's Blog - PensBurgh

The Blue Jackets cut their roster to just 35 hard souls on Friday, meaning that more familiar faces will be in the lineup in Pittsburgh for this quasi-matinee featured on NHL Network.  Foremost among these will be Brandon Saad, who will be making his debut in a Columbus sweater, after undergoing dental "adjustments" precipitated by an errant puck.  He'll be joined by a bevy of regulars up front, including Hartnell, Dubinsky, Johansen, Foligno, Wennberg, Atkinson, Jenner and Borque.  The youngsters are led by Kerby Rychel, with Karlsson, Hannikainen, Chaput and Gallant also appearing.

The blue line will feature all of the top six contenders, save Cody Goloubef and Kevin Connauton, with Ryan Murray hoping to show that he is fully healthy.  Andrew Bodnarchuk and Oleg Yevenko carry the banner for the prospects.  (Anyone care to wager on a Yevenko-Sestito bout?)

Pittsburgh has more unknowns in the lineup, but the knowns are REALLY known.  Guys by the name of Crosby, Kunitz & Kessel. Heard of them?  (Sounds like a law firm)  Suffice it to say that this one likely will not be a reprise of Game 1 of the pre-season, where the two clubs went scoreless for 60 minutes of regulation, 5 minutes of 3-on-3 OT and 5 shootout shots.  Over/Under here is nine goals.

Will Saad show that he can do just fine without Kane & Toews?  Will Phil Kessel show he really belongs in a hockey sweater and not a bowling shirt?  Will Sidney Crosby still be whining to the officials?  Stay tuned.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets 
('13-'14: 42-35-5, 89 Points; 5th division, 11th conference)

FORWARDS
13 - Cam Atkinson
17 - Brandon Dubinsky
18 - Rene Bourque
19 - Ryan Johansen
20 - Brandon Saad
21 - Kerby Rychel
25 - William Karlsson
33 - Markus Hannikainen
38 - Boone Jenner
39 - Michael Chaput
40 - Jared Boll
41 - Alexander Wennberg
43 - Scott Hartnell
56 - Brett Gallant
71 - Nick Foligno

DEFENSE
2 - Andrew Bodnarchuk
7 - Jack Johnson
27 - Ryan Murray
46 - Dean Kukan
47 - Dalton Prout
51 - Fedor Tyutin
58 - David Savard
66 - Oleg Yevenko

GOALIES
70 - Joonas Korpisalo
72 - Sergei Bobrovsky

Pittsburgh Penguins
('13-'14: 43-27-12, 98 Points; 4th Division, 8th Conference)

FORWARDS
7 - Matt Cullen
14 - Chris Kunitz
17 - Bryan Rust
23 - Scott Wilson
34 - Tom Kuhnhackl
36 - Matia Marcantuoni 
39 - Jean-Sebastien Dea
40 - Oskar Sundqvist
41 - Daniel Sprong
45 - Josh Archibald 
47 - Tom Sestito
81 - Phil Kessel
87 - Sidney Crosby

DEFENSE
2 - Adam Clendening
3 - Olli Maatta
5 - David Warsofsky
8 - Brian Dumoulin
28 - Ian Cole
51 - Derrick Pouliot
65 - Steve Olesky

GOALIES
30 - Matt Murray
37 - Jeff Zatkoff