banner

NHL

more stats

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

Other Stories

Hurricanes

Canes fall to Red Wings 3-1 13
Faulk has goal, assist in Canes' win over Leafs

The Carolina Hurricanes brought the NHL's worst record and a long losing streak into a meeting with the Toronto Maple Leafs — perhaps hockey's hottest team.

Related Stories
  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Tomorrow at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA at Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 3:15 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Canes vs. NY Rangers

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State at West Virginia

    Tomorrow at 9:30 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
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
 
4th
MEM 78
CHI 84
 
4th
SAN 80
POR 77
 
2nd
DEN 59
LAC 43
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
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
 
2nd
MINN 87
SEAT 52
 
Final
LOYC 73
SUTAH 57
 
Final
SELA 81
WINT 71
 
Final
SILL 52
NO 56
 
2nd
MARQ 49
ALAAM 20
 
Half
TTU 35
ARKPB 26
 
2nd
DEN 41
COLST 40
 
Half
CREI 39
TXPA 27
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
Final
NJD 3
TAM 2
3rd
OTT 6
ANA 2
 
Final
DET 1
NYI 2
 
3rd
WIN 2
BOS 1
 
2nd
CAL 0
DAL 0