Thursday March 12, 2020 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s blog: Pensburgh
Pittsburgh Penguins, 40-23-6, 86 points, 3rd Metro, 5th East
Columbus Blue Jackets, 33-22-15, 81 points, 5th Metro, 8th East
If a hockey game is played and no one is there to see it, did it really happen?
Though sports are a nice break from reality, the two have become intertwined. With news of the spreading Coronavirus, it’s affected the way sports — as well as everyone — goes about their business and daily lives in effort to reduce the amount of risk for everyone. That includes not only no spectators for tonight’s game between the Blue Jackets and Penguins, but also the remaining four home games for the Blue Jackets during the 2019-20 season.
As news and updates of the Coronavirus changes, almost by the minute, and as sports leagues around the world react to accommodate latest safety measures, it remains to be seen what could still happen, such as postponement of games. The NBA has already done so as of last night, and the NHL is expected to release an announcement later today.
As it currently stands, there is a hockey game to be played. The Blue Jackets and Penguins skate into tonight's matchup nearly mirroring one another to a tee. While Columbus has dealt with its share of injuries, the Penguins have also suffered significant injuries throughout the season. Additionally, Pittsburgh is 5th in the Eastern Conference, while Columbus is eight, but tied for sixth points-wise. Both have struggled in recent weeks, as Pittsburgh is 3-7-0 in their last 10; Columbus is 3-4-3.
In case you’ve forgotten, as it’s been a couple months, Columbus is 1-1-1 against Pittsburgh this season with the last game between the two clubs Dec. 12. The Blue Jackets won the lone home game in the series to date, a Black Friday game Nov. 29 that saw Gustav Nyquist score a hat trick against the visitors.
Player to Watch
Former Wild player Jason Zucker now suits up as a member of the Penguins, so he hasn’t seen Columbus yet this year. Zucker is signed through the 2022-23 season ($5.5 mil cap hit). Overall he’s got 41 points in 60 games (20 goals, 21 assists), and in 12 games with the Penguins he has 15 points (six goals, six assists). In 10 career games against the Blue Jackets, Zucker has three points (two goals, one assist).
According to Blue Jackets insider Jeff Svoboda, Cam Atkinson will be back in the lineup tonight after missing time since Feb. 8 with a sprained ankle. ... In Wednesday’s practice, he lined up with Riley Nash and Eric Robinson, taking the place of Kevin Stenlund. ... Elliot Friedman had a piece Wednesday that alluded to possible contract extension talks between the Blue Jackets and Elvis Merzlikins. ... Nick Foligno is just four goals away from 200 in his career.
The Other Bench
Patrick Marleau (11 goals, 11 assists) was acquired by the Penguins from the Sharks at last month’s trade deadline and has one goal, one assist in eight games for Pittsburgh. ... Matt Murray (20-11-5, .899 SV%, 2.87 GAA) and Tristan Jarry (20-12-1, .921, 2.43) have split time in the net this season. ... Jake Guentzel is out for the rest of the season following shoulder surgery in late December. ... Sidney Crosby (16-31) has been limited to 41 games this season as he dealt with a sports hernia earlier this season. ... Evgeni Malkin (25-49), who also dealt with injury earlier this season, leads his club in assists, points (74), and penalty minutes (58).
10/02/2019 CBJ 2 @ PIT 7
11/29/2019 PIT 2 @ CBJ 5
12/12/2019 CBJ 0 @ PIT 1
03/12/2020 PIT @ CBJ
|3.20 (10)||GPG||2.57 (27)|
|2.84 (11)||GAPG||2.61 (3)|
|19.9% (16)||PP%||16.4% (27)|
|82.1% (8)||PK%||81.7% (12)|
|51.0%(9)||5v5 Corsi %||49.1% (19)|
|51.5% (6)||5v5 Fenwick %||50.9% (11)|
|8.7 (8)||5v5 Shot %||6.8 (28)|
|.915 (20)||5v5 Save %||.928 (5)|
|Bryan Rust, 27||G Leader||Oliver Bjorkstrand, 21|
|Evgeni Malkin, 49||A Leader||Pierre-Luc Dubois, 31|
|Evgeni Malkin 74||P Leader||Pierre-Luc Dubois, 49|
|Evgeni Malkin, 58||PIM Leader||Nick Foligno, 62|
|17-15-2||Home / Road||20-12-4|
|Gus Nyquist||Boone Jenner||Nick Foligno|
|Alexander Wennberg||Pierre-Luc Dubois||Emil Bemstrom|
|Jakob Lilja||Devin Shore||Stefan Matteau|
|Eric Robinson||Riley Nash||Cam Atkinson|
|Zach Werenski||Markus Nutivaara|
|Vladislav Gavrikov||David Savard|
|Scott Harrington||Andrew Peeke|
|Jason Zucker||Sidney Crosby||Conor Sheary|
|Patrick Marleau||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Evan Rodrigues||Jared McCann||Patric Hornqvist|
|Sam Lafferty||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Jack Johnson||Justin Schultz|