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Game #38 Preview: Jackets look to keep it going against Penguins

Is this — are we — finally cooking with gas?

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

Friday, January 21, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Pensburgh

Columbus Blue Jackets (18-18-1, 37 points, 5th Metro, 10th East)

vs.

Pittsburgh Penguins (24-10-5, 34 points, 6th Metro, 5th East)

The Jackets earned a much-needed win over the Philadelphia Flyers last night, but they’ll need to step their game up another level to overcome the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.

And thank God we were up to the task of cementing the Flyers’ 10-game losing streak — we have a busy weekend of games still, so it’s nice to have some momentum.

Player to Watch

Patrik Laine

Laine scored a laser GWG last night, which he sorely needed after having only three shots in the three games prior. As Seeds so succinctly put it in his recap last night, “Against the Flyers Laine continued to look tentative early, even passing the puck on the first power play and turning down perfectly fine shooting lanes. He appears to be fighting himself right now, turning down good opportunities in search of the perfect one, and that is not good enough for a team struggling to score. In the third period, you saw the type of player Laine can be - he made a smart play to keep the puck in the zone, cycled and found the open ice, and buried a shot after Boone Jenner worked the puck loose. Laine just need to keep the skates moving and keep working and his goals will come.”

Anyways, I know I’ll be watching Laine tonight - I feel like he gets an extra surge of swagger and performance at home games, so hopefully he’ll be on his game tonight and get some more points under his belt.

Jackets Notes

Notably, the Jackets are without productive d-men Vladislav Gavrikov and Adam Boqvist due to COVID protocol; Jake Christiansen and Gavin Bayreuther are in. Cole Sillinger remains in COVID protocol. Joonas Korpisalo is in net!

The Other Bench

The Penguins will be a formidable foe; they’ve got 53 points in just 39 games, placing them securely in third place of the highly competitive metro division. They’ve won 19 of their last 24 games, and currently hold ninth in scoring in the NHL. Jake Guentzel generally proves himself to be a thorn in the side of the Jackets, and injuries have affected Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (both of whom are playing tonight) this season, so other players have stepped up to make an impact.

Season Series

01/21/2022 PIT @ CBJ
02/27/2022 PIT @ CBJ
03/22/2022 CBJ @ PIT

Stats

Pittsburgh Columbus
3.33 (9) GPG 3.11 (12)
2.56 (4) GAPG 3.54 (28)
18.4% (20) PP% 15.6% (27)
89.8% (2) PK% 78.9% (19)
52.3% (9) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.7% (23)
53.3% (6) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.7% (24)
8.5 (11) 5v5 Shooting % 9.3 (8)
.925 (8) 5v5 Save % .909 (27)
Jake Guentzel, 21 G Leader Boone Jenner, 15
Kris Letang, 31 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 24
Jake Guentzel, 39 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 27
Kris Letang, 26 PIM Leader Andrew Peeke, 26
13-5-3 Home / Road 11-6-1
8-2-0 Last 10 4-6-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Gus Nyquist Boone Jenner Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Patrik Laine Alexandre Texier Jakub Voracek
Max Domi Jack Roslovic Emil Bemstrom
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Yegor Chinakhov
Zach Werenski Andrew Peeke
Gavin Bayreuther Jake Bean
Dean Kukan Jake Christiansen
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
Pittsburgh Penguins
Jake Guentzel Sidney Crosby Bryan Rust
Danton Heinen Evgeni Malkin Kasperi Kapanen
Dominik Simon Jeff Carter Evan Rodrigues
Zack Aston-Reese Teddy Blueger Brock McGinn
Brian Dumoulin Kris Letang
Michael Matheson John Marino
Marcus Pettersson Chad Ruhwedel
Casey DeSmith
Tristan Jarry