Dec 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson (7) handles the puck as Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) and defenseman Kris Letang (58) defend during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day Edition: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Columbus Blue Jackets

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Columbus Blue Jackets

Sunday, December 29th, 2013, 6:00PM

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

After gaining valuable ground in the Metropolitan Division against the New Jersey Devils on Friday, the Columbus Blue Jackets will take to the ice against another division rival; the Pittsburgh Penguins. This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. Pittsburgh has won the three previous match ups, outscoring the Jackets by a combined score of 9-3.

The Blue Jackets come into tonight’s game on a three game winning streak. The Penguins are currently running away with the Metropolitan Division, as they lead the second place Washington Capitals by thirteen points. At the same time the Blue Jackets are on the rise and with the win over the Devils, Columbus is back in the race for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Penguins are coming off a 4-3 win over the Hurricanes on Friday, which helped them rebound from their 5-0 shutout loss to the Senators before the Christmas break. The loss to Ottawa snapped a seven game winning streak for the Penguins.

While geographically, Columbus and Pittsburgh should be rivals, so far the play on the ice has not reflected that. Pittsburgh has dominated the Jackets so far this season. A win at home against the Penguins would make a big statement and finally get the Pittsburgh rivalry going.

Stats

  • As expected, Pittsburgh ranks among the top teams in several stat categories. Their 24.6 PP% is good for third overall, whereas their 87.4 PK% puts them second in the league on the penalty kill. Pittsburgh is averaging 3.05 goals per game, which is 5th overall. [ NHL.com ]
  • Columbus had a difficult time getting their power play going against New Jersey. While they were unable to capitalize on the man advantage against the Devils, their 17.5 PP% is still good for 17th overall. [ NHL.com ]
  • During 5 on 5 play, Columbus has an 8.7 Sh% (6th overall)m which is better than Pittsburgh’s 8.0 Sh% (9th overall). [ Extra Skater ]
  • The Jackets PDO has now climbed to 100.8, which puts them at 11th overall in the league. The Penguins are slightly under performing with a 99.9 PDO (16th). [ Extra Skater ]

Noteable Noteables

  • The last time the Blue Jackets beat the Pittsburgh Penguins was February 8th, 2011. [ NHL.com ]
  • Brandon Dubinsky and Blake Comeau made headlines yesterday when they dropped the gloves during practice and exchanged a few punches. The “tussle” first started with words on the bench and escalated into a full on fight when they both took the ice during a penalty kill drill. [ Blue Jackets XTra ]

The Union and Blue Song For the Game:

I loved this song when I first heard it on the Steve Dangle podcast. Then we all found out last week that it is also the Blue Jackets locker room victory song as well. Let’s hope we hear Timber blaring out of the CBJ dressing room tonight at Nationwide Arena.

Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets

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