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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, February 6th (All times eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (24-22-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (25-23-5), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to avoid a third consecutive loss when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for tonight's tilt at Mellon Arena.

The Blue Jackets have lost two straight on the heels of back-to-back wins. Columbus, which is tied for 10th in the Western Conference, hasn't dropped three in a row since December 18-23.

Columbus has been outscored, 11-5, in its last two outings and its most recent loss came Tuesday against visiting St. Louis. Brad Boyes and Jay McClement each had two goals, as the Blues downed the Blue Jackets, 4-2, at Nationwide Arena.

R.J. Umberger and Fedor Tyutin tallied for Columbus, which closed out a four-game homestand with a 2-2-0 mark.

Steve Mason denied 18-of-21 shots in the loss. The rookie netminder has yielded six goals on just 29 shots since notching his league-leading seventh shutout of the year in a 1-0 win over Ottawa last Friday.

The Blue Jackets are just 9-13-4 as the visiting team this season and have dropped two straight and four of their last six road games. Next up for is a three-game homestand that begins Saturday against San Jose.

The Penguins, meanwhile, ended a three-game losing streak their last time out, posting an overtime victory Wednesday against visiting Tampa Bay.

Evgeni Malkin scored the game-winner with 15.5 seconds left in overtime as Pittsburgh erased a three-goal deficit in the third period to top the Lightning, 4-3.

Malkin paved the way for the win, scoring the Pens' first goal 2:25 into the third period and assisting on Petr Sykora's game-tying goal with 3:29 left in regulation. Mark Eaton notched the other score for Pittsburgh.

Malkin leads the NHL with 79 points on 24 goals and 55 assists. He is riding a six-game point streak and had recorded six goals and four helpers during the run.

Marc-Andre Fleury surrendered three goals over the first two periods but buckled down to make 21 saves and help secure the win.

Tonight marks the second segment of a four-game homestand for the Pens, who are 13-11-2 as the host this season. Pittsburgh will face Detroit on Sunday before closing the stand Wednesday against San Jose.

Pittsburgh is 5-3 all-time against the Blue Jackets and has won two of the last three encounters between the clubs. Columbus has been defeated in three of its last four stops in the Steel City.

02/06 10:30:09 ET

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