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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, December 9th (All times Eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (12-14-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (20-10-1), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets carry a lengthy shutout streak into Monday's game in Pittsburgh, but it could prove difficult to put up another zero against the high-scoring Penguins.

The Blue Jackets enter tonight's tilt at CONSOL Energy Center with a shutout streak of 137 minutes, 45 seconds, dating back to the third period of a 3-1 loss in Boston on Nov. 30. Columbus followed that setback against the Bruins with a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday before notching a 4-0 triumph Friday against Minnesota.

Columbus has posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since Nov. 2010. The franchise record for shutout streaks is 199:19.

Curtis McElhinney has seen action in the last two shutout wins for Columbus, taking over for an injured Sergei Bobrovsky in the third period of the Tampa Bay game before stopping all 20 shots in a start against the Wild on Friday. With reigning Vezina Trophy winner Bobrovsky out for several weeks due to a groin strain, McElhinney is the de facto No. 1 netminder in Columbus with Mike McKenna serving as the backup.

"It felt great out there tonight," said McElhinney after Friday's win. "The guys did a real good job keeping them away from the front and did some hard work when we were killing penalties."

R.J. Umberger and Nick Foligno posted a goal and an assist against Minnesota, while Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have won three of four.

"It's been a good couple of games we've had here," said Umberger. "We've been putting a lot of hard work in practice, working on the power play and defense a lot and it's starting to pay off."

In addition to the Bobrovsky injury, the Blue Jackets are also currently without forwards Marian Gaborik (knee), Nathan Horton (shoulder) and Jared Boll (foot). Defenseman James Wisniewski joined the group of injured Columbus players after sustaining an upper-body injury in Friday's victory. Wisniewski is expected to miss at the least the next two games.

McElhinney expects to start again tonight and he'll face a Pittsburgh club that ranks sixth in the NHL in scoring with an average of 3.03 goals per game this season. The Pens also have dominated this series in recent years, taking three straight, five of six and seven of the last nine encounters with the Blue Jackets.

Pittsburgh, which boasts an impressive 12-3-0 mark in the Steel City this season, has won its last two home games against Columbus and is 6-2-0 all-time as the host in this series.

The Pens had won five straight before suffering a late collapse in Saturday's 3-2 regulation loss at Boston. The game also featured a couple of ugly incidents in the opening period, and one of them led to a suspension for Pittsburgh forward James Neal.

David Krejci and Zdeno Chara scored goals 1:16 apart late in regulation for the Bruins, giving Boston a 3-2 edge. Chara's tally with 13 seconds remaining handed the B's their first lead of the game. Neal and Chris Kunitz accounted for Pittsburgh's goals on Saturday, while Marc-Andre Fleury took the loss after making 18 saves.

Saturday's game, however, is likely to be remembered more for a pair of ugly incidents in the first period rather than the way it ended.

During a scrum which was created by a kneeing call to Neal against defenseless Boston winger Brad Marchand with 8:54 remaining in the first period, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton grabbed Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik from behind and punched him twice, the second time as the veteran blueliner was on the ice.

Medical personnel were immediately summoned, and the 33-year-old Pittsburgh blueliner was completely immobilized before being loaded onto a stretcher and taken away for evaluation. Following the game, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma reported that Orpik was out of the hospital and was able to travel back home with his teammates. He is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion and has been placed on injured reserve.

Neal, who has 10 goals and 10 assists this season, was suspended for five games Monday after having a phone hearing with the league. He won't be eligible to return to the lineup until Dec. 19, when Pittsburgh hosts the Minnesota Wild.

Thornton, meanwhile, drew a match penalty for his actions -- apparently in retribution for a clean but hard hit Orpik laid on Bruins forward Loui Eriksson early in the game. Thornton faces an in-person disciplinary hearing with the league, meaning he could face a suspension of greater than five games for his actions.

The Penguins played without Evgeni Malkin Saturday and the star forward is questionable for Monday's game with a lower-body injury, Malkin is second in the league to his teammate Sidney Crosby in scoring this season, registering 37 points on seven goals and 30 assists. Crosby is pacing the NHL with 42 points on 15 goals and 27 helpers.

12/09 13:02:43 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
Final
ORL 94
UTA 101
Final
CLE 95
BRK 91
Final
BOS 114
MIN 98
Final
DET 100
TOR 110
Final
MIA 103
WAS 105
Final
MEM 97
CHI 103
Final
SAN 119
POR 129
Final
DEN 109
LAC 106
Final
LAL 103
OKC 104
1:00pm Today
NYK
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
 
11:00am Today
LALAF
NEV
2:20pm Today
UTEP
UTST
3:30pm Today
COLST
UTAH
5:45pm Tonight
AFA
WMICH
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
Final
RAD 76
SIENA 66
 
Final
BUCK 88
CASEWEST 65
 
Final
LIB 94
CPNC 65
 
Final
SCAR 68
CLEM 45
Final
CMICH 97
CONC 60
 
Final
MIAMI 44
EKENT 72
Final
GWEBB 91
HIWASSEE 71
 
Final
ODU 60
MDES 43
 
Final
BUF 88
NIAG 62
 
Final
KSU 71
NCAT 57
 
Final
FAM 65
UNF 83
 
Final
NORST 81
NARZ 62
 
Final
DART 58
NILL 55
 
Final
MORE 60
NKENTUCKY 83
 
Final
UCSB 69
SDCHR 46
 
Final
STJ 53
GAELS 47
Final
ALA 69
STILL 49
 
Final
HAMP 66
TENST 54
 
Final
TENN 61
TENT 58
Final
WMARY 86
WSHMD 46
 
Final
MERC 67
COOK 46
 
Final
FLGC 83
FUR 78
 
Final
CALST 49
SDKST 53
 
Final
MTST 68
CHAT 58
Final
NDAK 78
DICKINSON 48
 
Final
LAMON 76
LSUALEX 71
 
Final
PRIN 77
LIP 55
 
Final
LAM 80
MLGN 53
 
Final
MINN 92
SEAT 57
 
Final
LOYC 73
SUTAH 57
 
Final
SELA 81
WINT 71
 
Final
SILL 52
NO 56
 
Final
MARQ 83
ALAAM 49
 
Final
TTU 72
ARKPB 51
 
Final
DEN 84
COLST 85
Final
CREI 75
TXPA 60
 
Final
CAL 78
EWASH 67
Final
UTST 69
IDST 56
 
Final
UTEP 55
ARZ 60
Final
CHAM 63
HAW 94
 
12:00pm Today
GEOR
CHAR
 
12:00pm Today
WKENT
LOU
 
12:00pm Today
MICH
SMU
 
12:00pm Today
CIN
VCU
 
1:00pm Today
BSU
ABCHRIST
 
1:00pm Today
PROV
UMASS
 
1:00pm Today
AMER
MNTER
 
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
1:00pm Today
IUPUI
SALA
 
1:00pm Today
VILL
SYR
 
1:00pm Today
VT
CITA
 
1:00pm Today
DUQ
MLOWELL
 
1:30pm Today
FAIR
BEL
 
2:00pm Today
YALE
GTDNS
 
2:00pm Today
FD
DEL
 
2:00pm Today
PSU
DREX
 
2:00pm Today
UNCG
ELON
 
2:00pm Today
ILL
MIZZ
 
2:00pm Today
CAMP
MONT
 
2:00pm Today
LONG
PSUBEAVER
 
2:00pm Today
HOU
SCST
 
2:00pm Today
FSU
SFLA
 
2:00pm Today
BING
BONA
 
2:00pm Today
RUTG
RFLSH
 
2:00pm Today
MCNST
TOL
 
2:00pm Today
JVU
TRUETT
 
2:00pm Today
GT
VANDY
 
2:05pm Today
INDST
EILL
 
2:30pm Today
BUT
IND
 
3:00pm Today
STEPH
ARTCH
 
3:00pm Today
OREG
DELST
 
3:00pm Today
Terriers
FATL
 
3:00pm Today
TXARL
HPYN
 
3:00pm Today
KU
LAF
 
3:00pm Today
ARKST
MARS
 
3:00pm Today
MEM
ORU
 
3:00pm Today
KNST
UMBC
 
3:00pm Today
NW
WMICH
 
3:05pm Today
MIZST
EMICH
 
3:05pm Today
CHIST
STJOE
 
3:30pm Today
KENT
UCLA
 
4:00pm Today
COC
DAVID
 
4:00pm Today
RIU
DET
 
4:00pm Today
UCR
HOUB
 
4:00pm Today
MURST
ILLST
 
4:00pm Today
NWST
LALAF
 
4:00pm Today
WAGN
MON
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
PITT
OU
 
4:00pm Today
TENNM
PBY
 
4:00pm Today
WYO
SOUTH
 
4:00pm Today
AFA
UCD
 
4:00pm Today
MSST
USCU
 
5:00pm Tonight
JMU
HIGH
 
5:00pm Tonight
TXST
HTILL
 
5:00pm Tonight
DRAK
ISU
 
5:00pm Tonight
SHU
UNH
 
5:00pm Tonight
SCU
NE
 
5:00pm Tonight
MSU
TXSOU
 
5:00pm Tonight
UF
WAKE
 
5:15pm Tonight
ND
PURD
 
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
PVU
 
6:00pm Tonight
AUB
XAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BLUFFTON
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
IONA
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
LAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
MRGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCST
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
PEPP
RICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
STJOE
 
7:00pm Tonight
KYST
TEXAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
VALPO
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
INCWORD
 
7:30pm Tonight
IDST
CALST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
IOWA
 
7:30pm Tonight
SIUE
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
TXSA
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
 
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
 
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
 
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
 
Final
NJD 3
TAM 2
Final
OTT 6
ANA 2
Final
DET 1
NYI 2
Final
WIN 2
BOS 1
Final
CAL 1
DAL 2
4:00pm Today
LOS
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
TAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
 
4:30pm Today
WAS
PHI
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC