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Game #2: Jackets look for first win of young season in Pittsburgh

So it begins: Blue Jackets vs Penguins Part I

NHL: SEP 19 Preseason - Blue Jackets at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Saturday, October 6, 2019 - 7:00 EST
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 102.5 FM
Opponent’s blog: Pensburgh

Columbus Blue Jackets (0-1-0, 0 points, 8th Metro, 15th East)


Pittsburgh Penguins (0-1-0, 0 points, 8th Metro, 15th East)

Coming off a 4-1 loss in their home-opener against the Maple Leafs Friday night, the Blue Jackets look to quickly turn the page as they travel to take on the Penguins for the first of 14 back-to-back games this season. Pittsburgh fell in their home opener, 3-1, to the Sabres on Thursday night.

Player to Watch

Alexandre Texier has already been apart of some NHL success in his career — 7-4 as a member of the Blue Jackets in 11 career games, eight of those wins in the playoffs. But Texier has yet to face off against one of Columbus’ prominent rivals, the Penguins. We’ll get to see how Texier does against not only the rigors of an 82-game schedule, but being placed within the intensity of the latest installment of the Penguins rivalry.

Texier was utilized on the first line throughout the preseason playing alongside Cam Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois. We’ll get to see how that line, and the chemistry among linemates plays out this season. As some will remember, he was swapped for Nick Foligno at the beginning of the third period in last Friday’s preseason game against the Devils. In last night’s game, Jakob Lilja took over for Texier on the first line in the third period.

Texier played 16:52 Friday night, including 2:45 on the power play.

Jackets Notes

Vladislav Gavrikov, Dean Kukan, and Sonny Milano were healthy scratches for last night’s opener. ... Though it wasn’t necessarily the plan, Scott Harrington drew into the top six after winning a spot on the third pairing per John Tortorella. ... Cam Atkinson’s power play goal was his sixth-straight opening night goal, tying an NHL record. ... Boone Jenner is one point shy of 200 in his career, and Oliver Bjorkstrand needs just three points for 100 in his career.

Some notes per Jeff Svoboda: Columbus has scored a power play goal in eight straight season openers. ... Last night’s loss dropped the Blue Jackets to 8-9-2 all-time in season openers. ... While Toronto scored two power play goals last night, the Jackets allowed multiple power play goals in a game only four times last season.

Will Tortorella opt to mix things up in Pittsburgh? Maybe Elvis Merzlikins gets the opportunity to make his NHL debut. To this point, Tortorella has not announced and lineup changes.

The power play was a disaster once again to start the season. Though Atkinson delivered a goal on the man-advantage, the power play (1-for-5) looked as disorganized as we’ve come to expect over the last two years now and counting. Chalk one game up to rust and jitters, we’ve seen the pattern play out for far too long.

What are you actually doing Brad Larsen?

The other tale of the tape were the amount of penalties (six), but the Leafs also went to the box just as often. Columbus, however, knows they can't expect to win many games if they don’t play to a disciplined approach. A great test is on the table tonight, where the Jackets have won just four games all-time in Pittsburgh, and coming in having lost seven straight.

The Other Bench

Swept out of the playoffs in the first round by the New York Islanders, Pittsburgh has designs on getting back to being considered among the Stanley Cup contending favorites. ... Matt Cullen retired over the off-season and joined the hockey operations department in a player development role. ... Phil Kessel was traded to the Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk, while defenseman Olli Maatta was traded to the Blackhawks for Dominik Kahun. ... Goaltender Casey DeSmith was waived prior to the start of the season, mainly for cap reasons, as he will serve time in the AHL. ... Head coach Mike Sullivan agreed to a four-year contract extension through 2023-24. ... Brandon Tanev was signed to a six-year deal. ... Forward Bryan Rust was placed on long-term IR Wednesday after sustaining a hand injury in the Penguins last preseason game a week ago against the Sabres. ... Rookie John Marino was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and did not play versus the Sabres. ... Notables Evgeni Malkin (one goal), Kris Letang (one assist), and Sidney Crosby (one assist) all recorded points for the Penguins in their opener. ... Matt Murray took the loss, making 41 saves. ... There were rumors that Jack Johnson might be traded. ... He’s still there. ...

Season Series

10/05/2019 CBJ @ PIT
11/29/2019 PIT @ CBJ
12/12/2019 CBJ @ PIT
3/12/2020 PIT @ CBJ

2018-19 Stats

Pittsburgh Columbus
3.30 (6) GPG 3.12 (12)
2.90 (14) GAPG 2.82 (11)
24.6% (5) PP% 15.4% (28)
79.7% (19) PK% 85.0% (1)
49.74% (15) 5v5 Corsi % 50.19% (12)
50.15% (13) 5v5 Fenwick % 51.05% (11)
8.3 (11) 5v5 Shot % 8.8 (6)
.931 (3) 5v5 Save % .916 (22)
Jake Guentzel, 40 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 41
Sidney Crosby, 65 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 59*, Seth Jones 37
Sidney Crosby, 100 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 87*, Cam Atkinson 69
Evgeni Malkin, 89 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 64
23-14-4 Home / Road 25-14-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Alexandre Texier Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Gustav Nyquist Alexander Wennberg Oliver Bjorkstand
Jakob Lilja Riley Nash Emil Bemstrom
Ryan Murray Seth Jones
Zach Werenski David Savard
Scott Harrington Markus Nutivaara
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jake Guentzel Sidney Crosby Dominik Simon
Alex Galchenyuk Evgeni Malkin Brandon Tanev
Jared McCann Nick Bjugstad Patric Hornqvist
Zach Aston-Reese Teddy Blueger Dominik Kahun
Brian Dumoulin Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson Justin Schultz
Jack Johnson Juuso Riikola
Matt Murray
Tristan Jarry