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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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Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
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KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
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Final
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Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
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Final
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TEX 0
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Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
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Final
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SJST 31
Final
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AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
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UCLA 40
Final
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KSU 3
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BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
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FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
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Final
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ODU 51
Final
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Final
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Final
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TXSANANTO 0
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Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
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LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
Final
UTAH 24
USC 21
Final
WASH 10
ARST 24
 
3rd
HAW 10
NEV 6
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
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DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
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COL
 
4:00pm Today
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CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
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SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
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WAS
 
9:30am Today
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1:00pm Today
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1:00pm Today
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1:00pm Today
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TAM
MIN
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STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14