Key Observations Heading Into Game 62 Between the Penguins and Blue Jackets

Published on March 1st, 2015

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By: Annie Shean (@JustPuckIt)

The Penguins turned a corner on Wednesday night when they beat the Capitals 4-3. Riding a three game win streak, the team looks to add another ‘W’ against a metropolitan opponent in their last home game before a road trip out west.  The Penguins are well rested, unlike the Blue Jackets who played last night in a 2-0 loss against the Devils. The shutout last night marks a five game losing streak for Columbus, and the team will be looking to reverse that trend tonight when the puck drops at 5:00pm.

A New Addition:
Tonight will mark forward Daniel Winnik’s first game in a Penguins uniform since he was traded for Zach Sill and two draft picks. It will be a quick turnaround for Winnik, as due to the wait for a work visa held up his travel plans. After arriving in town Friday night he headed to Consol Energy Center the next morning for introductions, system overview, and a practice with his new teammates. Head Coach Mike Johnston slotted him on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Steve Downie, as well as on the penalty kill unit.

“He’s going to be a big part of our penalty kill so sitting down with Gary Agnew and talking about the kill, working through that with him. And then just getting in and playing and sort of building from there.” — Head Coach Mike Johnston (Source)

Image Credit: Digital Preview

Image Credit: Digital Preview

The Penguins aren’t the only ones with an altered lineup this evening. David Clarkson will be playing in his second game for the Blue Jackets since being traded in a deal for injured forward Nathan Horton. Clarkson is expected to add depth to the team, and hopefully return to his old scoring levels playing for a new team.

Injury Update:
There are no injury updates to report for the Penguins, which I must admit is quite refreshing (*knocks on wood*). As for the Blue Jackets, Sergei Bobrovsky was activated off injured reserve on Saturday and backed up McElhinney against the Devils. He is expected to start in net tonight against the Penguins after missing several games with a groin injury. The team however will be without both agitator Brandon Dubinsky and Matt Calvert, both of which are out with concussion symptoms. Due to these injuries, the Blue Jackets recalled ex-Penguins forward Brian Gibbons from the AHL.

[Fight] Crosby vs Dubinsky

With Dubinsky out of the lineup we won’t be seeing this again…

What to Watch For:
The top two lines of the Penguins are clicking again after HCMJ made adjustments. Both Sidney Crosby and Patrick Hornqvist are riding three game point streaks, and Evgeni Malkin has a four game point streak. Expect these top two lines to continue to light the lamp and push the team in the standings over the next month. Let’s not forget about goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who is also having a stellar season with a career best 28 wins and a .924 SV%. And last but not least keep an eye on Kris Letang, who has not only been a defensive leader – but also has 10 goals and 37 assists so far this season. #Letang4Norris


Milestones:
Don’t let the five game losing streak of the Blue Jackets make you believe that tonight’s game will be an easy one. The team is hungry to win, and led in shots last night 33-15 in their loss against the Devils.Having goaltender Bobrovsky back in the lineup could be exactly what the Blue Jackets need to help jump start their team back in the right direction.

  • Tonight will be defenseman Rob Scuderi’s 700th career game in the NHL
  • Patrick Hornqvist is one goal shy of reaching 20 this season
  • Tonight will be the first time this season that former Penguins center Brian Gibbons has played in Pittsburgh