All the turkeys have been carved and the deals have been shopped, but there are still loads to be thankful for Penguins fans. After enjoying the Thanksgiving festivities Thursday, The Pittsburgh Penguins (14-7-4) will face the Columbus Blue Jackets (10-10-4), Friday at Nationwide Arena. The Penguins will try to maintain the momentum from their dramatic six-goal third period and a comeback win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night when they face their division rival Columbus in enemy territory.
Last season, the Penguins were 3-1-0 against Columbus, which included a 1-1-0 record at Nationwide Arena. They’re 1-0 against Columbus this season after a 7-2 win at home on Oct. 5. Columbus remains outside of the playoff picture but continues to show bursts of potential. They have scored first in nine-straight outings dating back to Nov. 7 vs. Arizona. The streak is the second-longest streak in club history. They can tie their franchise record on Friday.
Penguins twitter can argue hidden meanings and goaltender controversy once more as Tristan Jarry starts in Friday’s Penguins game. Jarry continues to provide the Penguins a spark in November and has forced his way into more playing time. Columbus starts Joonas Korpisalo, who holds a four-game win streak, tying his career-best set last season. Korpisalo is 5-4 with a 2.35 goals-against.
The Penguins pulled an improbable comeback in an 8-6 barnburner win over Vancouver on Wednesday. The win marked the Penguins’ second three-plus goal comeback in the third period this season. They have only accomplished this feat one other season in franchise history. The Penguins set the tone early with two first period goals to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Evgeni Malkin started off his five-point effort by setting up both Jake Guentzel (13) and Bryan Rust (9). The good vibes of secondary scoring soured as Vancouver tallied a goal late in the period to cut into the lead.
After the Penguins dominated the first period, Vancouver scored four straight. Elias Pettersson (11) scored 7:17 into the second to tie the game, but it proved just the beginning of the payback. Vancouver staged a late period blitz to take a two-goal lead into the second intermission. Jake Virtanen sped in around a defender and slid the puck five-hole to break the tie while Adam Gaudette fought for the rebound in front of the net to pot his fifth.
The Penguins responded quickly in the third to cut into the two-goal deficit with another Jake Guentzel (14) marker. Guentzel’s backhander gave the penguins jump but was quickly met with two goals by Vancouver to stretch their lead to three. If you listened closely you could hear the collective click from the remotes of Penguins fan, but it provided to be the noise that snapped the Penguins back to earth. With less than 15 minutes left in the game, the Penguins tallied the next five goals to secure their third straight win. Dominik Kahun, Evgeni Malkin, Zach Aston-Reese, and Kris Letang all added goals during the explosive period.
Matt Murray started for the Penguins but ended the game on the bench as Tristan Jarry won in relief. Jarry, after Murray surrendered four goals, stopped six of eight shots. Thatcher Demko received the loss and surrendered seven goals on 39 shots. You can read more about the Penguins concluding the Canucks in Dan’s Recap and the PHN Extra Report Card.
The Blue Jackets fell victim to five penalties in a 3-2 loss to Philadelphia, Wednesday. The loss snapped a four-game home win streak for Columbus, something they accomplished twice last season. Nick Foligno (2) and Seth Jones (3) scored the goals for Columbus while Tyler Pitlick (2), Scott Laughton (1), and Claude Giroux (8) added goals for Philadelphia. Brian Elliott stopped 28 of 30 shots for Philadelphia in the win. Joonas Korpisalo made just 19 saves in the loss.
The Penguins recalled forward Joseph Blandisi later on Friday afternoon.
Jared McCann has put together the most productive calendar month of his career. He’s recorded 12 points in 12 games in November, primarily playing center on the second line with Sidney Crosby and Nick Bjugstad out of the lineup due to injuries.
John Marino got on the board again Wednesday with two assists, extending his point streak to six games. His six-game point streak is the longest by any rookie this season. Marino’s 11 points on the year ranks fourth among all rookie defensemen, while his plus-9 this season is tied for first among all NHL rookies.
Evgeni Malkin continues to lead the way for the Penguins in lieu of key injuries. In 128 career games without Sidney Crosby, Malkin has 70 goals, 103 assists, and 173 points. In eight games this season without Crosby, Malkin has 13 points.
Sidney Crosby (Core Muscle, 6+ Weeks)
Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle, 6+ weeks)
Justin Schultz (Longer-Term)
Columbus Blue Jackets
Brandon Dubinsky (Wrist, IR)
Markus Nutivaara (Upper body, IR)
Kole Sherwood (Oblique, IR)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||20.3% (16th NHL)||82.4% (7th NHL)|
|New Jersey Devils||17.7% (22nd NHL)||82.0% (10th NHL)|
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Evan Rodrigues|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Jared McCann||Mark Jankowski||Brandon Tanev|
|Sam Lafferty||Teddy Blueger||Colton Sceviour|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Juuso Riikola||Chad Ruhwedel|