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Penguins Game 72 vs. Blue Jackets: Lines, Notes & How to Watch



Pittsburgh Penguins Game, Bets, Columbus Blue Jackets

Points would seem to be sitting right on the table for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who on Thursday play the first half of a home-and-home against the last-place team in the Eastern Conference, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Then again, the Penguins (31-30-10) have not always won the games they, on paper, were supposed to win, which is why they are essentially out of the playoff chase.

The Blue Jackets (23-37-12), who are visiting PPG Paints Arena Thursday, are reeling but have nothing to lose in taking it to the Penguins.

Game Time

The game starts a little after 7 p.m.

Penguins Preview

If the Penguins could have bottled the game they played Tuesday in knocking off one of the top teams in the league, Carolina, 4-1, months ago, they would probably be using these games against lowly Columbus to prepare for the postseason.

In the 14 games before Tuesday, the Penguins were 3-9-2.

The Penguins weren’t perfect against the Hurricanes, but they won what was a tight game for most of the night, did not fade as the game progressed, played well enough defensively, got a strong game from goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, and seemed to get a spark from a lineup that skewed younger than usual.

Because of injuries and coaches’ decisions, seven players in the lineup were 25 or younger, and coach Mike Sullivan said they added “juice.”

A couple of the stalwarts contributed, too, with Bryan Rust scoring a tiebreaking goal and Sidney Crosby finishing with a goal and two assists, giving him seven points in the past two games.

The Penguins could again have young guys in the lineup. Veteran forward Jeff Carter could return after missing four games because of injuries, but the status of veteran winger Reilly Smith is unclear as he is tending to a family matter.

Read more:

Kingerski: Penguins Prospect Impressing Team and Coaches, ‘Doing My Job’

Molinari: Bunting Has Too Many Pluses to Focus on a Minus

The Blue Jackets are not only opening a home-and-home with the Penguins, but they are also finishing a five-game road trip that has not gone well.

Columbus fell Tuesday at Arizona 6-2, bringing the road trip to an 0-3-1 spot.

What’s more, the Blue Jackets scored first in each of those four games, only to then be outscored by a combined 19-5 after they led 1-0.

Overall, Columbus is 1-6-2 in its past nine games.

Expected Penguins Lines

Drew O’Connor-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Michael Bunting-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell

Emil Bemstrom-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen

Jonathan Gruden-Sam Poulin-Jesse Puljujarvi


P.O Joseph-Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson

Ryan Graves-Jack St. Ivany


Alex Nedeljkovic

Tristan Jarry

Expected Blue Jackets Lines

Johnny Gaudreau-Boone Jenner-Alexandre Texier

Mikael Pyyhtia-Cole Sillinger-Kirill Marchenko

Dmitri Voronkov-Brendan Gaunce-Mathieu Olivier

James Malatesta-Tyler Angle-Carson Meyer


Damon Severson-Zach Werenski

Jake Bean-Ivan Provorov

Jake Christiansen-Erik Gudbranson


Elvis Merzlikins

Daniil Tarasov

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 14.4%, 31st

Penguins penalty kill: 81.0%, 12th

Blue Jackets power play: 15.0%, 29th

Blue Jackets penalty kill: 76.5%, 26th

Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins won 5-3 Nov. 14 at Columbus and by the same score March 5 in Pittsburgh. They are 5-0-1 against the Blue Jackets since the start of last season.

At home, the Penguins have a 14-game winning streak against Columbus dating to Dec. 21, 2015.

In their past 10 home games overall, the Penguins are 6-3-1.

The Penguins have gotten eight goals, 24 points from rookies this season.

Tristan Jarry is 8-1-1 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in his career against Columbus.

Sidney Crosby has 57 points (20 goals, 37 assists) in 40 career games against the Blue Jackets.

Bryan Rust has seven goals, three assists over his past 10 games, 12 goals, four assists over his past 18 games.

Lars Eller is two points from 400 for his career.

How to Watch

TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh

Radio: 105.9 FM The X