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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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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
 
4th
CHI 87
NYK 82
 
4th
HOU 68
NOP 65
 
1st
SAC 18
MIL 6
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
OKC
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
Final
UVA 70
CLST 54
Final
LIU 69
FIU 58
 
Final
STET 67
GSOUT 76
 
Final
QUIN 80
LEH 65
 
Final
SFLA 69
SHU 89
Final
RICH 65
SALA 54
Final
CAN 60
USB 59
 
Final
DEL 62
TEMPL 82
Final
WCU 56
WRST 69
 
Final
VERM 56
YALE 57
 
Final
SDKST 75
IDST 72
 
Final
RIDE 62
MRGST 48
 
Final
LATU 79
NICST 54
 
Final
CHAR 75
APP 65
 
Final
MISS 71
CCAR 68
 
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
 
Final
BRAD 80
EUREK 38
 
Final
PEAY 76
OAKC 52
 
Final
JST 66
SMISS 46
 
2nd
SD 52
MNTST 50
 
2nd
UAB 51
LSU 58
 
2nd
EVAN 44
OHIO 50
 
1st
CSFU 5
CSDH 4
 
1st
ORST 16
DEP 6
 
1st
PAC 10
NEV 6
 
1st
USF 11
PORST 9
 
1st
IDAHO 0
WALLA 0
 
10:15pm Tonight
UTST
CALST
 
Final
PIT 1
COL 0
Final
PHI 1
FLA 2
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 5
3rd
MON 1
ANA 1
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
STL
3rd
JAC 14
TEN 10