Pittsburgh Penguins (10-2-0) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (6-5-0)
After a 5-1 start, the Columbus Blue Jackers have lost 4 of 5 games and head coach Ken Hitchcock rested his players on Thursday as the team did not practice.
Rick Nash leads the Blue Jackets with 15 points but goaltender Steve Mason is off to a sub-par start. Mason is 5-4 with a 3.57 goals against average and has lost 3 out of his last 4 starts.
Mason gave up four goals on 23 shots in the Blue Jackets loss to the Coyotes Wednesday night and will start tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Blue Jackets will catch a break tonight with Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy sidelined. This will lead to an increased role for center Jordan Staal.
The Penguins just concluded their morning skate and Jordan Staal will move up to the second line and center Chris Bourque and Ruslan Fedotenko tonight,.
Forward Chris Conner will skate on the 4th line with Michael Rupp and Eric Godard. Mark Letestu will join the Penguins tomorrow.
Kunitz – Crosby – Guerin
Fedotenko – Staal – Bourque
Cooke – Adams – Dupuis
Conner – Rupp – Godard
*Brooks Orpik was paired with Kris Letang in the morning skate.
*Brent Johnson will start in goal
*Evgeni Malkin will miss tonight’s game with a shoulder injury and Tyler Kennedy will miss his second consecutive game with a lower body injury.
Kennedy is not expected to play this weekend.