Game 55: Blue Jackets Vs. Penguins Preview
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to rebound from a poor showing Sunday afternoon when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight.
The Penguins saw their five-game winning streak snapped after a 3-0 loss to the Washington Capitals.
It was the first game the team had played since learning that Evgeni Malkin had suffered a torn ACL and MCL and would likely be out for the rest of the season.
Now, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that Sidney Crosby could be out until at least March.
In addition, he may not resume normal exercise activity for another seven to 10 days.
In any event, the Penguins will need to continue to adjust to life without Crosby and Malkin.
Tonight, they will play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the CONSOL Energy Center.
This will be the second and final meeting of the year between the two teams. In their first tilt, Pittsburgh crushed the Blue Jackets 7-2 on Dec. 4 at Nationwide Arena.
According to the Penguins’ official website, Pittsburgh is 8-3-1 all-time against Columbus. At home, the Penguins are 4-1.
The last time Columbus won in Pittsburgh was in March of 2002.
However, Columbus has done quite well against the Eastern Conference this season by posting an 8-2-1 record.
The Blue Jackets are led by Rick Nash, who has 23 goals and 21 assists in 51 games this season.
In eight career games against the Penguins, Nash has three goals and four assists.
R.J. Umberger has been on fire since the middle of January. He’s registered nine points (five goals, four assists) in his last eight games. On Feb. 5, Umberger tallied two goals and added two assists in a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
In goal, Steve Mason (17-13-2, 3.18 GAA, .898 save percentage) is having an up and down year.
He’s been playing better recently, having won four of his last five starts.
Against the Penguins, Mason holds a 1-1-1 record with a 4.12 GAA and .884 save percentage. He allowed four goals on 13 shots against the Pens on Dec. 4. Mason was replaced in net by Mathieu Garon with about four minutes left in the first period.
For Pittsburgh, Marc-Andre Fleury (25-12-2, 2.19 GAA, .924 save percentage) has never lost to the Blue Jackets in regulation. He’s 3-0-1 with a 2.32 GAA and .923 save percentage against Columbus.
Fleury is currently second in the league in wins. He trails Roberto Luongo, Carey Price and Jimmy Howard by one in that category.
He’s sixth in the league in goals against average and seventh in save percentage.
The Penguins are currently three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
You can watch tonight’s game on FSN Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.