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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, December 29th (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (28-11-1) at Columbus Blue Jackets (17-17-4), 6 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Cam Atkinson can only hope his 101st career game is as successful as his 100th.

The forward will try to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a season-high fourth victory in a row and a first in four meetings this season with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday evening.

A former sixth-round pick by Columbus in 2008, Atkinson has set career highs already this season with 10 goals, 10 assists, 20 points and 38 games played. He had an assist and the lone shootout tally in Friday's 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Atkinson, the Blue Jackets' third shooter, slipped a shot through Martin Brodeur's legs.

"It seemed like (Brodeur) was coming out pretty far, and while I can shoot, I like to deke," Atkinson said of his approach in the shootout. "I saw the opening and went five-hole and luckily it went in."

Atkinson also assisted on Artem Anisimov's regulation goal, a tally that gave Anisimov five points in his last four games, while Curtis McElhinney made 16 saves.

McElhinney, who continues to fill in for the injured Sergei Bobrovsky (strained groin), is 0-2-0 with a 1.96 goals against average in three career meetings with the Penguins, including two starts.

The Blue Jackets have lost four in a row to the Penguins, including the first three of five meetings this season, and Pittsburgh is 12-4-1 all-time in this series.

Pittsburgh has won three straight in Columbus, including a 3-0 win on Nov. 2.

The Penguins have won eight of their last nine, bouncing back from a loss to Ottawa on Monday that opened a four-game swing with Friday's 4-3 overtime victory against Carolina.

Pittsburgh erased a 2-1 deficit in the third period on goals by Chris Conner and Deryk Engelland, who returned from a five-game suspension, but Carolina pulled even at 3-3 on Drayson Bowman's wraparound goal with 2:29 remaining.

James Neal then secured the extra point for the Pens 63 seconds into overtime, working a give-and-go with Jussi Jokinen and firing a return feed home from the slot.

Neal added two assists and Jokinen finished with three helpers for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby had a goal, his NHL-leading 55th point of the season.

Pittsburgh finished strong after getting outshot 16-7 in the first period and trailing 1-0 in the frame.

"We got caught in their pressure game. They pressured hard and came at us," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said about the first period.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves to earn his league-high 22nd win of the season in his 500th career game. He is 5-1-1 with a 2.33 GAA in his career versus the Blue Jackets, winning twice against them this season while giving up three goals on 72 shots.

While defenseman Brooks Orpik (concussion) and forward Tanner Glass (broken hand) both returned from injury to play on Friday, the Penguins are likely going to be without forward Pascal Dupuis for the rest of the season due to an injured ACL.

Also, forward Evgeni Malkin missed his sixth game in a row due to a lower-body injury. He practiced for a second day in a row on Saturday, but has yet to be cleared for contact.

Malkin has nine goals and 32 assists in 32 games this season.

In positive news for Pittsburgh, defenseman Rob Scuderi is close to returning from an ankle injury suffered back on Oct. 26. There is a chance he returns to action tonight.

12/29 10:23:10 ET

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    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

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    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

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    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-FM

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Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
Final
ORL 100
MIL 115
Final
IND 103
NYK 82
Final
MEM 99
DEN 69
Final
LAL 123
CHI 118
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
HOU
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
SAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
LAC
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
GSW
 
10:30pm Tonight
PHO
CHI
 
Final
PROV 83
DEP 72
Final
RUTG 51
MSU 71
Final
ARMY 71
BU 67
 
Final
RFLSH 75
BRY 68
 
Final
MERC 75
CHAT 72
 
Final
LIU 67
CCST 55
 
Final
TOWS 74
COC 70
 
Final
UMASS 66
DAY 64
Final
FUR 59
ETST 55
 
Final
ODU 71
FIU 56
Final
RMU 87
FD 65
 
Final
CHAR 86
FATL 61
Final
LIB 53
HIGH 72
 
Final
UNF 86
KNST 67
 
Final
FLGC 78
LIP 62
 
Final
OSU 80
MD 56
Final
Terriers 73
MNTER 67
 
Final
STET 85
NKENTUCKY 75
 
Final
WAGN 75
SHU 64
 
Final
GMAS 68
STLU 60
Final
JVU 65
USCU 78
 
Final
VMI 70
WCU 85
 
Final
LATU 69
WKENT 56
Final
UNCG 42
WOFF 58
 
Final
DET 93
YOUNG 87
 
Final
GSOUT 83
APP 46
 
Final
TENNM 81
EILL 51
 
Final
GHND 64
HC 54
 
Final
CIN 70
UCONN 58
Final
NDST 61
DEN 54
 
Final
SD 55
MAST 66
 
Final
UWMIL 71
ILLCH 65
 
Final
BEL 103
JVST 82
 
Final
SMISS 54
MARS 69
Final
TXSA 69
MTST 58
Final
PETE 49
RIDE 58
 
Final
SEMIZ 61
SIUE 75
 
Final
TENST 64
TENT 56
 
Final
NDAK 60
WEBER 67
 
Final
SALA 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
ARKST 65
ARKLR 75
 
Final
TROY 55
LAMON 58
 
Final
TXARL 74
UGST 88
 
Final
MURST 85
EKENT 78
 
Final
NCOL 79
IDST 76
 
Final
MIZZ 53
KENT 69
Final
GONZ 64
PORT 46
Final
UTEP 71
UAB 69
Final
GRCN 78
UMKC 57
 
Final
WLVRN 78
CHIST 62
 
Final
USC 94
COL 98
Final
UCI 67
CPSL 57
 
Final
CSNO 73
HAW 84
 
Final
PAC 43
PEPP 50
 
Final
SDU 69
SCU 64
 
Final
UCD 70
UCSB 64
 
Final
UCLA 69
UTAH 59
Final
PORST 54
MONT 73
 
Final
SACST 75
MNTST 59
 
Final
CSFU 85
LBSU 91
 
Final
GAELS 68
LMU 54
 
Final
WASU 67
CAL 76
Final
BYU 78
USF 74
 
6:00pm Tonight
PRIN
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
CORN
BRO
 
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
DART
 
7:00pm Tonight
NIAG
MAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAN
QUIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
SIENA
 
8:00pm Tonight
WILL
IUPUI
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAIR
MON
 
8:00pm Tonight
ARST
OREG
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLMB
YALE
 
10:00pm Tonight
BUF
KSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
ORST
 
Final
NYI 2
BOS 5
Final
NYR 0
MON 1
Final
PHI 5
WIN 2
Final
TOR 1
ARI 3
Final
FLA 3
CLB 2
Final
TAM 5
DET 1
Final
STL 5
NAS 4
Final
CAL 0
MIN 1
Final
EDM 3
BUF 2
Final
SJS 6
ANA 3
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
PIT
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
BUF
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
CHI