Coming off a shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets (37-26-3) are in the Steel City tonight to face the Pittsburgh Penguins (35-22-9). The puck is scheduled to drop shortly after 7:00 PM ET.
With 16 games left in the regular season, the Blue Jackets have some work to do to get back into the postseason. On the outside looking in, the time is now.
After dropping three of their previous four contests, a win over the Devils in New Jersey was a step in the right direction for the club. Taking two points against the Penguins in their own barn could be the jolt this team needs to get hot in time for the playoffs.
Currently sitting in fourth and fifth place in the Metropolitan Division, the Penguins and Jackets, respectively, come into tonight’s contest separated by just two points.
Getting consistent scoring out of their top players has been a challenge lately for the Jackets. In the five games since the CBJ lost to Pittsburgh at Nationwide Arena just over a week ago, Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, and Cam Atkinson have mustered a combined three goals and six assists.
Columbus will start Joonas Korpisalo at goaltender. Korpisalo hasn’t started in net for eight consecutive games. Facing Pittsburgh on the road will be a tough test as he tries to get back in the swing of things.
Across the ice, the Penguins come into the matchup winners of three of their last four, averaging four goals per game during that stretch. Fan favorite Sidney Crosby comes in hot, tallying 13 points in his last five games.
Jackets-Penguins games are always entertaining. Sprinkle in some serious postseason implications and you get what will be a must-watch matchup. With the standings so bunched up in the Metro, every point is key, especially at this time of the year. Preventing the Pens from picking up a pair of their own would make a CBJ victory that much sweeter.