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Penguins vs. Blue Jackets, Game 63: Lines, Notes & How to Watch



Pittsburgh Penguins Game, Bets, Columbus Blue Jackets

The Pittsburgh Penguins will open a five-game homestand when they face Columbus tonight at 7:08 at PPG Paints Arena.

It will be their longest stretch at home this season, and could have a profound impact on whether they qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 17th year in a row, since it will cover a quarter of their remaining games.

The Penguins enter this game in the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the New York Islanders and three ahead of Buffalo, Ottawa, Florida and Washington.

“We know that this last whole stretch of the season is probably going to be a battle,” Rickard Rakell said. “Right now, we’re in control of it and we want to keep it that way, so we have to make this a good home stretch.”

While the Penguins have a tenuous grip on a playoff berth, Columbus fell out of contention for the postseason long ago and has settled to the bottom of the overall standings.

The Blue Jackets have lost seven games in a row to the Penguins, who are 17-3-1 in their past 21 versus Columbus.

“Regardless of who we play on any given night, it’s an opportunity for us to grab points in the standings and solidify a playoff spot,” Mike Sullivan said. “And that’s our No. 1 objective right now.”

If, as expected, Dmitry Kulikov makes his Penguins debut this evening, he will be paired with Jan Rutta.

Rutta said that how long it will take those two to mesh — if they ever do — is impossible to predict.

“I wish there was a timeline for that,” he said. “With some guys, it clicks right away. Some guys, it might never click. In some cases, you just build chemistry over time. It’s case-by-case.”

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines











Expected Columbus Blue Jackets Lines












Special Teams

Penguins power play: 45 for 216, 20.8%, 18th

Penguins penalty-kill: 41 for 201, 79.6%, 15th

Blue Jackets power play: 29 for 167, 17.4%, 27th

Blue Jackets penalty-kill: 45 for 192, 76.6%, 20th

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes

Sidney Crosby has 48 points in 36 career games against Columbus, the most of any active player except Patrick Kane (73). Crosby has three goals and two assists in two games this season.

Fourth-line center Nick Bonino has blocked 76 shots, second-most among NHL forwards.

The Penguins have scored four or more goals in 12 of their past 18 games against the Blue Jackets.

Marcus Pettersson’s next point will be his 100th in the NHL, making him the 37th player (and seventh defenseman) from the draft class of 2014 to reach that milestone.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ power play has scored at least once in seven of the past eight games.

Columbus has lost 22 of 27 games decided by three or more goals.

Blue Jackets left winger Johnny Gaudreau has seven goals and six assists in 16 career games against the Penguins.

Columbus is 5-9-1 when outshooting its opponents.

The Blue Jackets are 4-12-2 inside the Metropolitan Division.

How to Watch

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: 105.9 the X