The Pittsburgh Penguins (7-6-0) will take their season-best four-game winning streak on the road Tuesday to face the Columbus Blue Jackets (4-7-4).
Two of the Penguins’ wins in the streak have come by shutout, and they have outscored opponents 20-5 in the four games.
Columbus sits last in the Eastern Conference.
Penguins Game Time
The game starts a little after 7 p.m.
The Penguins not only could stretch their winning streak to five games, but they also could reach two games over .500 for the first time this season.
They are expected to have second-line winger Reilly Smith available after he missed practice Monday. He was excused to join his former teammates with the Vegas Golden Knights as they visited the White House to celebrate winning the Stanley Cup.
The availability of fourth-line winger Jeff Carter is somewhat questionable. He sat out practice Monday with what coach Mike Sullivan called a lower-body injury, although it sounded more precautionary than anything.
That said, Carter, even if healthy enough, stands a good chance to be scratched in favor of Vinnie Hinostroza.
Adding another wrinkle, the Penguins on Tuesday morning recalled forward Jonathan Gruden, then sent him back in the afternoon.
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The Blue Jackets have lost five straight (0-3-2) and are 1-5-4 in their past 10 as they try to gain some sort of traction with a young team.
They are coming off a gut-check game Sunday against the Rangers in New York, when they gave up a tying goal with 11 seconds left in regulation, then lost 4-3 in a shootout.
One bright spot has been 19-year-old rookie Adam Fantilli, who has four goals, nine points in 15 games and seems to be taking on a leadership role.
Expected Penguins Lines
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rikell
Drew O’Connor-Lars Eller-Radim Zohorna
Matt Nieto-Noel Acciari-Vinnie Hinostroza
Ryan Graves-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson
Ryan Shea-Chad Ruhwedel
Expected Columbus Blue Jackets Lines
Johnny Gaudreau-Boone Jenner-Patrik Laine
Dmitri Voronkov-Adam Fantilli-Kirill Marchenko
Jack Roslovic-Cole Sillinger-Emil Bemstrom
Alexander Texier-Sean Kuraly-Justin Danforth
Zach Werenski-Erik Gudbranson
Ivan Provorov-Damon Severson
Adam Boqvist-Andrew Peeke
Penguins Special Teams
Penguins power play: 18.4%, 19th
Penguins penalty killing: 83.3%, 11th
Blue Jackets power play: 13%, 27th
Blue Jackets penalty killing: 89.1%, 3rd
Penguins Game Notes
The Penguins are 8-0-1 in their past nine games against Columbus, dating to Dec. 12, 2019, so are looking to extend to their point streak against the Blue Jackets to 10 games.
They were 3-0-1 against Columbus last season.
Evgeni Malkin leads the team with 16 points and has multiple points in three of the past five games.
Kris Letang is two points shy of reaching 700 for his career. That would make him the third active defenseman and 28th in league history to reach that mark.
Sidney Crosby has an eight-game point streak (4 goals, 10 points). In his career, he has 53 points (17 goals, 36 assists) in 38 games against the Blue Jackets.
How to Watch the Game
TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh
Radio: 105.9 The X