Key Observations Heading Into Game 58 Between the Blue Jackets and Penguins

Gameday - Game 58

By: Joe Guzy

Welcome to Game 2 of the “Man Games Lost” Cup! The Columbus Blue Jackets enter the series with 352 man games lost while the Pittsburgh Penguins come in at a respectable 248. The Penguins will have a chance to improve their 7-10-4 record in the Metropolitan Division against the  Blue Jackets who find themselves on the outside looking in with a record of 25-27-3.

Unfortunately a rivalry that seemed to be heating up has cooled off with the Blue Jackets falling well out of playoff spot. They are also without former Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. However, NHL All-Star Nick Foligno will be a game-time decision for Columbus tonight according to head coach Todd Richards.

The Blue Jackets are coming off of a hard fought win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blue Jackets took a two-goal lead in the first only to see it tied up by the Flyers in the second. However, they were able to find the back of the net three more times and leave Wells Fargo Center with a victory. They were able to find scoring from their defense and remaining top performers. Combine that with adding Nick Foligno back into the lineup tonight and this team should never be taken lightly despite their place in the standings.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are coming off of a rather interesting lost against the Washington Capitals. What seemed to be a decent hockey game was soon blown out of preparation by a “missed” slashing call. Though the Penguins came close to tying it up a number of times, they let their emotions get the best of them and ultimately ended up losing the game. The power play continued to struggle amidst the other issues currently surrounding this team. If the Penguins can either get the power-play to click or, manage to keep their composure against a team that has frustrated them since last year’s playoffs (please do both?) they should be in good shape tonight.

Watch for:

  • Nick Foligno/Ryan Johnsen – Both are currently tied to lead the Blue Jackets with 52 points. Foligno with one more goal. Johansen with one more assist. Look for one (or possibly both) of them to make an instant impact with the team coming off of a great win again the Flyers.
  • Sidney Crosby – Currently riding a 10-game point streak against Columbus. Don’t be surprised to him on the score sheet tonight.
  • Special Teams – Columbus’ power-play is currently 5th in the league. The Penguins’ penalty kill is currently ranked 6th though it hasn’t felt like that as of late. No need to describe the Penguins’ power-play as of late. Thought there is no time like the present to take advantage of Columbus being ranked 18th on the penalty kill.
  • Emotions – Like I mentioned earlier, the Penguins cannot lose their composure again. Though the Blue Jackets are not a possible playoff team, these are still points the Penguins need to make up for other losses in the division. We’ve seen the Blue Jackets get in the Penguins’ head before and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen once again.

With a win tonight, the Penguins can get back on the right track heading into a back to back with the red hot St. Louis Blues and the fighting Florida Panthers this weekend.