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2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Game 5 Preview, Blue Jackets at Penguins

The Blue Jackets look to stay alive.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins
Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 7:00 EST
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: Fox Sports Ohio and NHL Network - Radio: WBNS FM and bluejackets.com
Game Faceoff

No rest for the weary (players and fans alike). The Columbus Blue Jackets return to the ice tonight to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in a do or die Game 5 at PPG Paints Arena.

The Columbus Blue Jackets managed to stay alive on Tuesday night by virtue of their first regulation playoff win in franchise history. Tonight, if they want to extend the series and return to Columbus with the Pittsburgh Penguins in tow, they must do something they haven’t done yet this season - the Blue Jackets must knock off the Penguins on the road.

The Pittsburgh Penguins went 31-6-4 at home this regular season and are currently 2-0 in the playoffs on home ice. PPG Paints Arena is an intimidating place to play, but the Blue Jackets cannot think that way. The team has to come out and play with the same energy and urgency that they brought to the table in Game 4. The team played fast and loose (within the confines of their system) and looked as close to the team that we saw in December than any game since #16 of the streak. They have to keep that going.

Defensively, the Blue Jackets did a solid job of shutting down the line featuring Sidney Crosby (though Jake Guentzel did notch his 5th goal of the series). If the Blue Jackets want to make this a series and keep clawing their way back, they must - MUST - shut down the Crosby line. Nearly as important though is shutting down Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. Malkin leads the Penguins in points this postseason, and Kessel is one of the best point per playoff game players in the salary cap era. The Blue Jackets must play sound defensively.

It would help the cause if Sergei Bobrovsky would develop into the Vezina favorite he was in the playoffs. Bobrovsky has not been good this series, leading the NHL goaltenders in goals allowed and 15th out of 16 in save percentage. At some point, the best player on the Blue Jackets roster has to play like it.

The team has nothing to lose tonight. No one (outside of Columbus fans) expects them to win tonight. The team has no pressure and can just play their game tonight.

Hopefully they can play that terrible music around 9:45 this evening. Go Jackets.

Probable Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Sam Gagner Lukas Sedlak Oliver Bjorkstrand
Matt Calvert William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Kyle Quincey Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Gabriel Carlsson Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jake Guentzel Sidney Crosby Conor Sheary
Bryan Rust Evgeni Malkin Phil Kessel
Scott Wilson Nick Bonino Patric Hornqvist
Tom Kuhnhackl Matt Cullen Carter Rowney
Brian Dumoulin Ron Hainsey
Olli Maata Trevor Daley
Ian Cole Justin Schultz
Marc-Andre Fleury
Tristan Jarry