Game #81 Preview: Non-playoff Pens play out the string in Columbus

Wherein we laugh at the Pens missing the playoffs, until they beat us again

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 7:00 P.M. EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent's Blog: Pensburgh

Pittsburgh Penguins (40-31-10, 90 points, 5th Metro, 9th East)


Columbus Blue Jackets (24-47-9, 57 points, 8th Metro, 16th East)

Thanks to the New York Islanders' win last night against Montreal, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been eliminated from playoff contention. This ends a 16 season postseason streak, the longest active one in the four major North American professional sports leagues. Let us show our respect by observing a moment of silen-

Thank you.

Player to Watch

Stanislav Svozil, Samuel Knazko, Mikael Pyyhtia, Tyler Angle

With all of the injuries and the back-and-forth emergency call-ups from Cleveland, the Jackets today are giving some fresh faces a look. These four players will be making their NHL debuts.

Angle, a 7th round pick in 2019, has been waiting the longest, with 159 games as a Monster over the last three seasons. Unfortunately his production has dipped each season, with just 23 points in 65 games this season.

Pyyhtia, a 4th round pick in 2020, put up 20 points in 47 games with TPS of Liiga in his native Finland. That's also a dip from his production last season. Upon arriving in Cleveland this spring, however, he has scored three goals in six games.

Knazko, a 3rd round pick in 2020, put up 21 points in 49 games in his first AHL season. Solid start for the Slovak defenseman.

The one I'm most looking forward to is Svozil, the 2021 3rd round pick who has been killing it all season. He and David Jiricek anchored the blue line as Czechia won silver at the World Juniors, with Svozil tallying 1/7/8 in 7 games. In the WHL he scored 11/67/78 in 56 games in the regular season, followed by 4/9/13 in a 7 game opening round loss in the playoffs. Oh yeah, and he had a teammate in Regina whom you may have heard of:

Jackets Notes

The injured list continues to grow, and Brad Larsen confirmed that the players currently on that list will not play tonight and tomorrow. That includes Boone Jenner, Patrik Laine, Elvis Merzlikins, Eric Robinson, Erik Gudbranson, Matheiu Olivier, or Lane Pederson (remember him?) ... Based on who is out and who was called up, the skaters will be 11F/7D. Sure, why not ... The last time Columbus beat Pittsburgh was November 29, 2019. Gus Nyquist had a hat trick and Nick Foligno scored twice in the 5-2 victory. Of the 7 players with assists, just one remains a Blue Jacket: Zach Werenski. (The others were Oliver Bjorkstrand, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Alex Wennberg, Seth Jones, Josh Anderson, and David Savard) Ah, memories.

The Other Bench

The Penguins shot themselves in the foot with an inexplicable loss at home on Tuesday to the lowly Chicago Blackhawks. Pensburgh calls it the worst regular season loss in franchise history. Another moment, please:

Yes, I know, if you're a Pittsburgh fan reading this you're wondering where I get off laughing at the Pens when the Jackets are way, way worse this year. You see, I was born in the darkness. Molded by it. I've been here before. Pittsburgh hasn't since way back when I was in college. Since Connor Bedard was in diapers. You've got your Stanley Cups. Watching our rival's dynasty go out with a whimper...that's OUR Stanley Cup. At least for now.

Season Series

10/22/2022 PIT 6 @ CBJ 3
12/06/2022 CBJ 1 @ PIT 4
03/07/2023 CBJ 4 @ PIT 5 (OT)
04/13/2023 PIT @ CBJ


Pittsburgh   Columbus
3.20 (16) GPG 2.60 (30)
3.21 (19) GAPG 4.03 (31)
21.2% (17) PP% 18.3% (26)
79.2% (16) PK% 75.6% (24)
52.2% (8) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 44.9% (30)
52.3% (7) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 44.5% (30)
7.7 (29) 5v5 Shooting % 7.8 (27)
.916 (14) 5v5 Save % .900 (30)
Jake Guentzel, 35 G Leader Boone Jenner, 26
Sidney Crosby, 58 A Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 53
Sidney Crosby, 91 P Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 72
Evgeni Malkin, 82 PIM Leader Mathieu Olivier, 81
17-18-5 Home / Road 15-22-2
5-5-0 Last 10 2-6-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnny Gaudreau Sean Kuraly Kirill Marchenko
Kent Johnson Jack Roslovic Emil Bemstrom
Hunter McKown Joona Luoto Liam Foudy
Mikael Pyyhtia ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Tyler Angle
Gavin Bayreuther Andrew Peeke
Tim Berni Adam Boqvist
Stanislav Svozil/Samuel Knazko Billy Sweezey
Michael Hutchinson
Jon Gillies

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jake Guentzel Sidney Crosby Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker Evgeni Malkin Rickard Rakell
Alex Nylander Ryan Poehling Mikael Granlund
Danton Heinen J*ff C*rt*r Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin Kris Letang
Dmitry Kulikov Jan Rutta
Pierre-Olivier Joseph Jeff Petry
Tristan Jarry
Casey DeSmith

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