The Columbus Blue Jackets will be visiting the steel city tonight to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in a nationally televised match-up. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM and the game will be presented to you by NBC Sports Network. For more pre-game material, check out Game Day Edition: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Pittsburgh Penguins.
On Friday we saw Columbus rally around McElhinney’s stellar play against the Wild with a big 4-0 victory! The win against Minnesota kept the Jackets perfect in the month of December – the team opened up the month with a 1-0 win against the Lightning last Tuesday the 3rd.
Tonight the Jackets will be facing a Penguins team that will most likely be without star James Neal – he has a phone date with Brendan Shanahan today. I am also going to assume that Brooks Orpik will not be in the line-up tonight after he was assualted by Bruins forward Shawn Thornton. Neal sits with 10 goals, and 10 assists [20 points, +1], and Orpik currently has 1 goal, 6 assists [7 points, +1].
On the Blue Jackets side, the team will be without defenseman James Wisniewski – Coach Richards states that Wisniewski could be out for upwards of a week and did not make the trip to Pittsburgh. Gaborik, Horton, and Boll are also still listed on the IR, but Derek MacKenzie made his return on Friday, and will be in the line-up once again. After recording his first shutout of the season, netminder Curtis McElhinney will step up to the plate again and make his second start in a row. [BlueJackets.NHL.com]
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