Game Preview: Blue Jackets at Penguins, Game One

Here’s what you need to know.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins
2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Round One, Game One
Wednesday, March 12, 2017 - 7:30 EST
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, USA Network - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Pensburgh

Columbus Blue Jackets, 50-24-8, 108 points, 3rd Seed in the Metropolitan Division
Pittsburgh Penguins, 50-21-11, 111 points, 2nd Seed in the Metropolitan Division

In the words of Gandalf the White in The Return of the King: “We come to it at last. The great battle of our time.”

That might be a little bit dramatic, but that’s certainly what it feels like. For the second time in four seasons, the Columbus Blue Jackets will face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only question - will the outcome be different this time around for the Blue Jackets?

By now, you know the names of the players who will have impacts on the series: Sergei Bobrovsky, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Dubinsky, Phil Kessel, Seth Jones, Zach Werenski to name just a few. These guys have all played under pressure before (some more than others) and are all extremely familiar with the players on the other side of the ice.

As we’ve broken this series down over the last few days, this series is fairly even on both sides. The offensive edge belongs to the Penguins, the defensive groups are even with the loss of Kris Letang for the rest of the season, and the goaltending edge belongs to the Blue Jackets. This series will come down to capitalizing on chances, limiting mistakes, and playing with energy but not reckless abandon.

In lineup news, Zach Werenski returns to the lineup in place of Gabriel Carlsson after missing time with a shoulder injury. Ryan Murray and Lukas Sedlak will both miss tonight’s contest, though both have been upgraded to “day to day.” Other than that, there are no lineup changes. Sergei Bobrovsky starts in net.

Finally, game one of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ third playoff appearance is here. Let’s do the thing.

Go Jackets.

Season Series

12/22/16 PIT 1 @ CBJ 7
2/3/17 CBJ 3 @ PIT 4 (OT)
2/17/17 PIT 1 @ CBJ 2 (OT)
4/4/17 CBJ 1 @ PIT 4

Round One Series - Series Tied 0-0

4/12/17 CBJ @ PIT
4/14/17 CBJ @ PIT
4/16/17 PIT @ CBJ
4/18/17 PIT @ CBJ
4/20/17 CBJ @ PIT (if necessary)
4/23/17 PIT @ CBJ (if necessary)
4/25/17 CBJ @ PIT (if necessary)

Stats Matchup

Pittsburgh   Columbus
3.39 (1) GPG 3.01 (6)
2.79 (17) GAPG 2.35 (2)
23.1% (3) PP% 19.9% (12)
79.8% (20) PK% 82.5% (9)
50.1% (16) EV Corsi % 50.3% (14)
101.2 (5) EV PDO 101.4 (3)
Sidney Crosby, 44 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 35
Phil Kessel, 47 A Leader Alexander Wennberg, 46
Sidney Crosby, 89 P Leader Cam Atkinson, 62
Evgeni Malkin, 77 PIM Leader Brandon Dubinsky, 91
31-6-4 Road / Home 22-12-7
4-4-2 Last 10 3-5-2

Probable Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell Sam Gagner Oliver Bjorkstrand
Matt Calvert William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Kyle Quincey Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jake Guentzel Sidney Crosby Conor Sheary
Bryan Rust Evgeni Malkin Phil Kessel
Scott Wilson Nick Bonino Patric Hornqvist
Tom Kuhnhackl Matt Cullen Carter Rowney
Brian Dumoulin Ron Hainsey
Olli Maata Trevor Daley
Ian Cole Justin Schultz
Matt Murray
Marc-Andre Fleury

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