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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 28th (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (46-22-5) at Columbus Blue Jackets (37-29-6), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets hope that they are catching the Pittsburgh Penguins at the right time.

Their playoff chances may depend on it.

The Blue Jackets hope to beat the struggling Penguins for the first time in five meetings this season as the clubs square off on Friday night at Nationwide Arena.

Columbus has been outscored 14-6 by Pittsburgh this season and has lost five straight and nine of the previous 11 meetings overall. That includes a four- game slide at home, where the Blue Jackets have not beaten the Pens since a shootout win on March 12, 2009.

However, the Penguins come in trying to avoid their first four-game slide of the season after a 3-2 setback to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night. The loss prevented Pittsburgh from securing a playoff spot as it needed to notch just one point.

Taylor Pyatt and Chris Kunitz scored for Pittsburgh, but Los Angeles got the winner from Drew Doughty early in the third period. Backup Jeff Zatkoff made 29 saves in the Penguins' sixth loss in eight games, though they still lead the Metropolitan Division by 11 points over the New York Rangers.

The Penguins also thought they tied the game at the 9:41 mark of the third period, but a video review showed that Pittsburgh's Brandon Sutter pushed L.A. goaltender Martin Jones' pad and the puck into the net, impeding Jones' ability to play his position.

"I was pretty surprised," Sutter said. "I just thought the puck came through the crease and I was just trying to jam away at it and it was loose the whole time. I definitely got pushed into the net and the puck went off of me somehow.

"I have no idea how they didn't call it a goal."

Having recently lost center Evgeni Malkin to a foot injury, the Penguins also saw pivot Marcel Goc exit last night's game in the final minute of the second period with a lower-body injury after he crashed into the boards following a collision.

While Pittsburgh can afford a slump given its advantage atop the division, Columbus has no such luxury. The Blue Jackets are one of four teams tied for the two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference with 80 points, joined by the Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The good news for the Blue Jackets is they own one of the current tiebreakers, having played the fewest games. They have 10 games remaining on the schedule, while the Red Wings and Capitals both have nine left. The Maple Leafs have just eight contests remaining and visit the Philadelphia Flyers tonight.

The Blue Jackets could, however, be without No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky tonight. He exited Tuesday's 4-2 victory over the Red Wings after one period due to illness and was unable to practice on Thursday.

Curtis McElhinney relieved Bobrovsky and made 22 saves versus the Red Wings, while Ryan Johansen scored twice and both Cam Atkinson and Brandon Dubinsky added goals.

"He was great, coming in a tough situation in a huge game," said Columbus head coach Todd Richards about McElhinney. "They pushed - you have to give Detroit a lot of credit for how they played. They had some opportunities and Curtis made some huge saves for us, and he looked calm. In a big, high-pressured game, he looked very calm."

The Blue Jackets had lost four of six going into Tuesday's game.

If Bobrovsky can't play tonight, Mike McKenna would serve as the backup to McElhinney, who is 0-3-0 with a 2.84 goals against average lifetime versus the Penguins.

Bobrovsky is 5-4-1 with a 3.05 GAA in his career when facing the Penguins, who are likely to start No. 1 Marc-Andre Fleury in this game. Fleury is 5-1-1 with a 2.33 GAA in his career versus the Jackets.

03/28 10:48:56 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
12:00pm Today
UNC
BUT
 
2:30pm Today
ECU
HAW
 
5:00pm Tonight
DUKE
FUR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
RICH
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
Final
WAS 102
ATL 106
Final
MIA 97
GSW 114
Final
MIL 98
DET 86
Final
NOP 89
SAC 99
Final
DEN 114
CHI 109
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
BRK
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
GSW
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
LAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
DAL
NYK
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
MIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
SAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
UTA
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
IND
 
9:00pm Tonight
PHO
DEN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MEM
 
Final
UMO 21
OHIO 24
 
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
ELON 74
MRGST 73
 
Final
MIZZ 61
PURD 82
Final
MAR 55
HAW 62
Final
UNF 77
LIB 57
 
Final
CHAM 85
BYU 121
Final
BUCK 58
MDES 55
Final
UGST 85
WCU 70
Final
UWGB 64
EVAN 62
Final
ARST 71
ALA 76
 
Final
OHIO 69
ARKPB 60
 
Final
UNH 75
BU 68
 
Final
OU 70
CHIST 57
Final
TOL 79
DET 82
Final
CLMB 57
FD 47
 
Final
QUIN 50
HART 54
 
Final
SFLA 71
HOF 70
Final
HARV 84
HOU 63
Final
BONA 79
JST 71
 
Final
STJOE 74
LIU 70
 
Final
SYR 70
GHND 37
 
Final
MLOWELL 102
MTIDA 57
 
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
Final
VT 54
NIOWA 73
Final
WOFF 82
OHVALLEY 54
 
Final
TEMPL 76
PENN 67
Final
RUTG 50
PETE 68
Final
BGU 62
SEMIZ 54
Final
LAS 73
Terriers 60
 
Final
UVA 79
TENST 36
Final
KENT 92
TXARL 44
Final
FSU 66
CITA 55
Final
PBY 63
TOCC 40
 
Final
COOK 56
TENNM 74
 
Final
WMARY 83
WILL 49
Final
USB 71
WKENT 61
 
Final
HIGH 88
WMPEACE 71
 
Final
SMU 72
ARK 78
Final
ARMY 80
BING 54
 
Final
CSOU 80
CARK 67
 
Final
UMBC 54
HOW 68
 
Final
ARZ 72
KYST 68
Final
OREG 63
VCU 77
Final
PSU 78
AKR 72
 
Final
SCST 92
CIU 55
 
Final
CREI 75
EILL 53
Final
ALAAM 61
JVST 67
 
Final
ABCHRIST 91
JCHR 65
 
Final
TXSA 57
LOYC 71
 
Final
NDST 64
MNCROOK 63
 
Final
NEB 80
NEOM 67
Final
VANDY 63
NORST 53
 
Final
STLU 57
NCAT 54
 
Final
MTST 65
NARZ 53
Final
TTU 75
NWST 64
 
Final
TULA 74
SOUTH 59
 
Final
ILLCH 87
STXAVIER 76
 
Final
TEX 78
RFLSH 46
 
Final
BRAD 52
TAMCC 38
 
Final
SMISS 72
TROY 70
Final
DRAK 73
IUPUI 60
 
Final
ARKST 58
LAM 63
 
Final
FLGC 62
USF 47
 
Final
COL 68
AFA 53
 
Final
IDAHO 75
BSU 86
 
Final
GRCN 64
BUF 80
 
Final
ORU 52
LALAF 76
 
Final
CHAR 74
MIAMI 77
 
Final
ISU 63
MD 72
 
Final
UMO 46
NW 55
 
Final
SACST 97
BRISTOL 63
 
Final
MICH 55
VILL 60
 
Final
SDST 74
PITT 57
 
2nd
USC 44
CSFU 38
 
2nd
STAN 58
DEL 33
 
12:00pm Today
UNC
BUT
 
12:00pm Today
FRES
MAR
 
12:00pm Today
CHAT
RMU
 
12:00pm Today
EMICH
ROCH
 
1:30pm Today
MRGST
LIB
 
2:00pm Today
HAMP
AMER
 
2:00pm Today
BEL
DEN
 
2:00pm Today
UMASS
NE
 
2:00pm Today
JMU
SHU
 
2:00pm Today
KNST
SAMF
 
2:30pm Today
ECU
HAW
 
2:30pm Today
CHAM
MIZZ
 
2:30pm Today
OKLA
UCLA
 
2:30pm Today
CCAR
LAMON
 
4:00pm Today
ELON
UNF
 
4:00pm Today
UWMIL
ORU
 
4:30pm Today
WCU
CHIST
 
5:00pm Tonight
DUKE
FUR
 
5:00pm Tonight
BYU
PURD
 
6:00pm Tonight
EVAN
USF
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
GTDNS
 
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
BRY
 
7:00pm Tonight
OSU
CAMP
 
7:00pm Tonight
CORN
CAN
 
7:00pm Tonight
LOU
CLST
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCF
DAVID
 
7:00pm Tonight
IONA
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
UGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
GOUCHER
 
7:00pm Tonight
ND
GRAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
YALE
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GWU
LONG
 
7:00pm Tonight
VT
UMO
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
MNTER
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
PSUHARRIS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
RICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
STJ
 
7:00pm Tonight
JVU
TRINBAPT
 
7:00pm Tonight
YOUNG
UMKC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UAB
WISC
 
7:30pm Tonight
PITT
KYST
 
7:30pm Tonight
WVU
VMI
 
8:00pm Tonight
DEP
LEH
 
8:00pm Tonight
UNT
MVSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
MORE
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
RAD
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
TENT
 
8:00pm Tonight
SMU
TXSOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
UTAH
TXPA
 
8:00pm Tonight
LMU
UCR
 
8:00pm Tonight
SCAR
UNCA
 
8:00pm Tonight
SD
WAYNEST
 
8:30pm Tonight
UWGB
FLGC
 
8:30pm Tonight
IOWA
NILL
 
9:00pm Tonight
ORST
AUB
 
9:00pm Tonight
MONT
CARROLLMT
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
EKENT
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
STET
 
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
NKENTUCKY
 
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
GEOR
UF
 
9:30pm Tonight
GONZ
UGA
 
9:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
NW
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
ARZ
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UTST
 
10:30pm Tonight
NDAK
ALAST
 
11:00pm Tonight
CSNO
PORST
 
11:30pm Tonight
AKAN
PAC
 
11:30pm Tonight
OKST
TULSA
 
Final
CLB 2
WIN 4
Final
NAS 4
LOS 3
 
Final
STL 2
OTT 3
Final
DAL 3
EDM 2
 
Final
ARI 3
COL 4
 
3rd
ANA 3
CAL 1
 
3rd
VAN 2
NJD 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
WAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
WIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
NYR
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
PHI
 
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
LOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CHI
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CAL