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Game #62 Ryan Dzingel Makes Blue Jackets Debut in Pivotal Matchup vs Penguins

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Freshly armed with prolific scorers, the Blue Jackets test their new-look team against rival nemesis.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, February 26 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Pensburgh

Columbus Blue Jackets (35-23-3, 73 points, 3rd Metro, t-6th East)

vs

Pittsburgh Penguins (32-22-8, 69 points, t-4th Metro, t-8th East)

The NHL trade deadline is in the rearview mirror and the playoffs are in sight as the Columbus Blue Jackets, armed with an even more prolific offense, get set to play the Pittsburgh Penguins for just the second time this season. With the Eastern Conference race so tight, and Metropolitan Division even tighter, the Jackets, trying to maintain positioning in the Metro, look to win their third-straight contest. They will also face the Penguins in a home-and-home next week.

In their first game since Monday’s trade deadline, the Blue Jackets get to show off another new acquisition Tuesday night, as winger Ryan Dzingel, acquired from Ottawa after Saturday’s win against the Sharks for Anthony Duclair and draft picks, will make his Columbus debut.

Meanwhile, the Penguins come in losers of two-straight and on the heels of letting a 3-1 lead slip away in their Stadium Series Outdoor game Saturday night against the Flyers, where they fell in overtime, 4-3. Pittsburgh won the lone prior matchup against Columbus in November 4-2.

Player to Watch

Former Ohio State standout Ryan Dzingel is obviously going to have all eyes set on him as he makes his debut with the Blue Jackets Tuesday night. At least he’ll already be familiar with the city, and is now reunited with teammate Matt Duchene. At 6’0”, 190, the 26-year-old left winger, Dzingel, has increased his point productivity every year since making his NHL mark in 2015-16.

NHL.com

His next goal will tie his career high of 23, set just last season, and Dzingel has already set a career high with 44 points this season. His 22 assists is also a career high.

He also looks really happy to be in Columbus.

View this post on Instagram

Got my 3 kids into Columbus

A post shared by Matt Duchene (@matt9duchene) on

Jackets Notes

Columbus enters tonight’s matchup against the Penguins looking for their first win against them since April, 18, 2017, Game 4 of the Quarterfinals. ... Since then, the Penguins have won six-straight meetings. ... Sergei Bobrovsky, playing some of his best hockey of the season, was named National Hockey League‘s Third Star of the Week on Monday after going 2-1-0 with consecutive shutouts, a .962 save-percentage and 1.01 goals-against-average. ... Bobrovsky has now been named a Star of the Week for the eighth time in his career, and second time this season after being named First Star of the Week in Dec. 17-23 ... He enters action tonight with over 120 minutes of shutout hockey, last yielding a goal at 13:08 of the third period at the Canadiens last Tuesday. ... Bobrovsky last posted consecutive shutouts Mar. 2 - 7, 2017, when he had three-straight. ... With the acquisitions of Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, the Blue Jackets feature a League-best six 20-goal scorers (Cam Atkinson - 34, Matt Duchene - 28, Artemi Panarin - 24, Pierre-Luc Dubois - 23, Ryan Dzingel - 22, Josh Anderson - 22). ... Markus Hannikainen returns after missing the last five games with an illness. ... Alexander Wennberg figures to miss his third-consecutive game as a healthy scratch. ... The Blue Jackets also acquired defenseman Adam McQuaid — originally drafted 2nd round, 55th overall by the Blue Jackets in 2005 — from the Rangers for a 2019 4th round and 7th round pick, acquired goaltender Keith Kinkaid from the Devils for a 2022 5th round pick, and shipped Alexander Broadhurst to the Jets for future considerations. ... It is worth pointing out, that while Kinkaid doesn’t figure to start many games for Columbus, he does own a 6-3-2 record against the Penguins; better than the 0-5 mark he had against the Jackets.

The Other Bench

Maybe it seems like things haven’t gone as easy for Pittsburgh this season like it has so many times in recent years. But it might be more the fact that the Metropolitan Division is as crowded as it ever has been, with five teams separated by seven points in the division. The Penguins could just as easily win the division, which they haven’t done since 2013-14, or actually miss out on the playoffs altogether. They currently find themselves under the playoff dividing bar, sitting tied in points with the surging Hurricanes, who currently hold the second wild card in the East.

Jack Johnson makes his first appearance in Nationwide Arena as a member of the black and gold since leaving the Blue Jackets for Pittsburgh via free agency. He did not play in the preseason game between the teams back in September. Sidney Crosby (26 goals, team-leading 49 assists), Pittsburgh’s leading scorer, is tied-for-ninth among all NHLers with 75 points. Evgeni Malkin (19 goals, 44 assists) and Phil Kessel (21 goals, 42 assists) round out the top 30 with 63 points each.

The Penguins made a couple trades on Monday, acquiring defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Canucks for Tanner Pearson, and also getting Chris Wideman from the Panthers for Jean-Sebastien Dea. Gudbranson will not be available for the Penguins tonight as he awaits his immigration paperwork to be processed, and Wideman was immediately sent to AHL Wilkes/Barre. Zach Trotman was recalled on Monday and will play tonight.

Matt Murray (18-10-2, 2.97 GAA, .912 SV%) and Casey DeSmith (14-11-5, 2.86 GAA, .914 SV%) have split the net this season. Murray is 6-1-1, 3.01 GAA, .904 SV% career against the Blue Jackets.

Brian Dumoulin suffered a concussion in Saturday’s game and will not play tonight. Kris Letang (upper body) is also uncertain while Olli Maatta (upper body) has missed time with a separated shoulder.

Season Series

11/24/2018 CBJ 2 @ PIT 4
2/26/2019 PIT @ CBJ
3/7/2019 CBJ @ PIT
3/9/2019 PIT @ CBJ

Stats

Pittsburgh Columbus
3.42 (5) GPG 3.20 (10)
3.11 (21) GAPG 2.93 (13)
24.6% (6) PP% 15.5% (27)
80.3% (t-16) PK% 83.9% (4)
49.26% (19) EV Corsi % 50.18% (13)
101.5 (5) EV PDO 100.3 (t-9)
Jake Guentzel, 28 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 34
Sidney Crosby, 49 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 44
Sidney Crosby, 75 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 68
Evgeni Malkin, 79 PIM Leader Josh Anderson, 54
15-10-6 Home / Road 16-13-2
4-4-2 Last 10 7-3-0

Projected Lineup

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Matt Duchene Cam Atkinson
Ryan Dzingel Pierre-Luc Dubois Oliver Bjorkstrand
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Eric Robinson Riley Nash Brandon Dubinsky
Markus Nutivaara Seth Jones
Zach Werenski David Savard
Scott Harrington Adam McQuaid
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Pittsburgh Penguins
Jake Guentzel Sidney Crosby Patric Hornqvist
Zach Aston-Reese Evgeni Malkin Phil Kessel
Jared McCann Nick Bjugstad Bryan Rust
Dominik Simon Matt Cullen Garrett Wilson
Jack Johnson Justin Schultz
Marcus Pettersson Chad Ruhwedel
Juuso Riikola Zach Trotman
Matt Murray
Casey DeSmith