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Reply To: NHL • Friday Service Plays • 11/27/15

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Preview: Pittsburgh at Columbus

When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, November 27, 2015

Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

Sidney Crosby appears to be emerging from his early-season slumber and that would be a huge boost for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who go for their fourth win in five games when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. Crosby scored twice in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 overtime victory over St. Louis and has three goals in three games.

Crosby’s first multiple-goal contest since Feb. 12 came on the same day that a story made the rounds on the Internet that the superstar captain and Penguins owner Mario Lemieux had a falling out. “If people are going to make stuff up, it’s totally out of my control,” Crosby told reporters. “I feel stupid even commenting on it. That’s ridiculous.” The Blue Jackets are attempting to climb back to relevancy after opening the season with eight consecutive losses. They are coming off a 2-1 win over New Jersey, but coach John Tortorella was not impressed, calling it “a team effort in sloppiness.”

TV: 7 p.m. ET, SNET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN Ohio (Columbus)

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (13-8-0): Crosby is finally showing signs of life after scoring only two goals in his first 18 games, but Evgeni Malkin continues do to the heavy lifting for Pittsburgh, notching his league-leading fifth game-winning goal against St. Louis. It was also the ninth overtime game-winner of Malkin’s career, tying him with Jaromir Jagr for second place on the franchise’s all-time list behind Lemieux (11). After failing to score on 13 power-play chances during a three-game span, Pittsburgh has five goals with the extra skater in the last four games.

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (9-14-0): Columbus improved to 9-7-0 since Tortorella replaced Todd Richards and received reinforcements to the lineup Wednesday with the returns of centers Brandon Dubinsky and Alexander Wennberg, who each missed six games. Sergei Bobrovsky is 5-1-0 in his last six starts, permitting a total of five goals in the five wins. “We cannot think about a streak,” Bobrovsky told reporters. “One game at a time. Next up is Pittsburgh. We have a win here in New Jersey. Now we need to win against Pittsburgh. One game at a time. It’s the only way we’ll get there.”


1. Bobrovsky had 28 saves in a 2-1 victory at Pittsburgh on Nov. 13.

2. Malkin has six goals and 14 points in 11 career games versus Columbus.

3. The Blue Jackets are 0-for-13 on the power play over the past five games.

PREDICTION: Penguins 3, Blue Jackets 2