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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, November 1st (All times Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (5-6-0) at Pittsburgh Penguins (9-4-0), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins will kick off their Metropolitan Division rivalry with a home-and-home series, beginning with Friday's battle in the Steel City.
The Blue Jackets switched conferences for this season, moving from West to East, and joined the Penguins in the newly-formed Metropolitan Division. The new divisional rivalry starts Friday at Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center before the clubs reconvene for tomorrow's battle in Columbus.
The Pens are dominating the Metropolitan so far and lead the division with 18 points, seven more than Carolina and the New York Islanders. Pittsburgh is 4-1-0 within the division this season and has won nine of its 14 all-time meetings against the Blue Jackets.
Pittsburgh has won three of four and five of the past seven encounters with the Blue Jackets overall and Columbus has claimed only two wins in seven trips to the Steel City.
The Pens enter Friday riding a two-game winning streak, although the consecutive victories over Carolina and Boston came on the heels of an 0-3-0 slide.
Pittsburgh used Jussi Jokinen's goal late in the third period to defeat the visiting Bruins by a 3-2 score on Wednesday, exacting a measure of revenge against Boston.
The Penguins were swept by Boston in the Eastern Conference finals last season, but got goals from Chris Kunitz and Brandon Sutter, along with 21 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury to take the first meeting between the clubs this season.
"With the way things ended last year we knew what kind of team we were playing," Sutter said. "They're a very good defensive team. That's a big building block for us."
The win halted a two-game slide on home ice for Pittsburgh, which is 6-2-0 as the host this season.
Columbus hopes to get back on track tonight after having a three-game winning streak snapped Sunday against visiting Anaheim. Corey Perry's go-ahead goal with 2:25 remaining helped the Ducks take the 4-3 road win over the Blue Jackets, who had four days to rest before taking the ice tonight.
Artem Anisimov netted a pair of goals, while Blake Comeau also lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 shots in defeat.
"We came out flat in the second period," Comeau said.
Bobrovsky is 5-3-1 with a 2.84 goals against average in nine career outings against the Pens.
11/01 10:41:57 ET
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