Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins
Where: Consol Energy Center
When: Friday, November 1st @ 7pm
Broadcast Information: Fox Sports Ohio, 97.1 The Fan
Finally there is Blue Jackets hockey to discuss once again! After a four day break, the Blue Jackets are back in action tonight, starting a home and home series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is the first regular season match up with our new division rival, as the two teams met twice during the preseason. The Jackets won both games, the first being 5-4 in overtime and the second 5-3 in regulation. As we all know though, preseason is not a viable gauge of true talent, and the Jackets will have to play at their best if they are to knock off the current Metropolitan Division leader.
The Columbus / Pittsburgh rivalry is something we have all been looking forward to since the move to the Eastern Conference. It’s the Metro Division powerhouse vs the new up-and-comer. It is nearly impossible to ignore the infamous fan invasions that cause tensions to rise in the stands. It was the the Pittsburgh fan invasions that spawned the “Defend NWA” movement. There is no denying that the Pittsburgh Penguins are a talented team, and they have the fan base to back it up. However, this is a changed Blue Jackets team and an energized Blue Jackets fan base. The days of Pens fans riding the Zamboni between periods are over. And while there still will be a lot of black and gold in the stands on Saturday, Blue Jackets fans will also make their presence known (peacefully of course).
Pittsburgh is currently averaging 3.08 goals per game (9th in the NHL) and have the 7th lowest goals against average (2.38). Even though they carry the offensive punch of Crosby and Malkin, the Penguins are tied with the Jackets on the man advantage; they both have a PP% of 20.0. The teams are also quite close on the penalty kill as well, as Pittsburgh has a 7th worst 77.8% and the CBJ have a 9th worst 78.4%. As a team, when it comes to puck possession, Pittsburgh has a Corsi For % of 54.1 (5th best in the NHL). The Jackets are back in 18th, with 48.0%. The Penguins are slightly over-performing, as their PDO is 101.4, good for 12th in the NHL. Columbus comes in at 26th with a PDO 96.7, they are still under performing.
Union and Blue will have live game coverage on Twitter, as well as Facebook! Give us a follow and interact during the game. Also, be sure to check back for the Keys to the Match Up, as well as check out Lindsay Wilson’s post on how the Blue Jackets can beat the Penguins.