National Hockey League
Preview
Pittsburgh at Columbus
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

Although 3-1 leads have evaporated in each of the three contests, the Pittsburgh Penguins will seize that very advantage in their Eastern Conference first-round series should they defeat the host Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 4 on Wednesday. Pittsburgh overcame the two-goal deficit en route to a 4-3 triumph in the series opener before scoring three goals in a 2-minute, 13-second span in an identical victory in Game 3 on Monday. Brandon Sutter and Lee Stempniak tallied before Jussi Jokinen netted the go-ahead tally 8:06 into the third period to complete the comeback.

While the Penguins understandably were elated with the result, the Blue Jackets are refusing to wave the white flag despite the late uprising. "The series is 2-1. Nothing's been lost here," said Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson, who has scored a goal in all three games of the set. "It's not like some big tragedy has happened. We're still in the series."

TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN Ohio (Columbus)

ABOUT THE PENGUINS: A high-octane offense has pretty much been the norm in the Steel City, although some familiar names have yet to score a goal in the series. Captain Sidney Crosby (team-leading 36 goals), Chris Kunitz (35) and Evgeni Malkin (23) have combined for eight assists, while James Neal (27 goals) has been held off the scoresheet in all three tilts. "Obviously, Sid and Geno (Malkin) and Kuni and James Neal are going to get a lot of the attention, a lot of the tougher matchups," Stempniak said. "It sort of comes down to the secondary scoring and the other players who can make a difference in the series."

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS: Coach Todd Richards admitted that he saw the parallels between Games 1 and 3, from the frenzied atmosphere surrounding the series opener to Columbus' crowd desiring to celebrate its first postseason victory. Richards acknowledged that the Blue Jackets "got away from our game a little bit. Some of that had to do with what Pittsburgh was doing, but some of it had to do with what we were doing, too." Columbus would be wise to crack down on its penalties, as the Penguins have totaled a league-best 17 power-play opportunities.

OVERTIME

1. Pittsburgh D Paul Martin has notched two assists in each of the three games of the series.

2. Columbus D Fedor Tyutin sat out Tuesday's optional morning skate and is expected to miss his second straight contest with an upper-body injury.

3. Penguins C Brian Gibbons (upper body) participated in Tuesday's optional skate, but coach Dan Bylsma did not provide an update on the rookie.

PREDICTION: Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Pittsburgh 53-24-5-3 W1 29-9-2-3 24-15-3-0 5-4-1-0 48-20-4-3 22-8-2-1
Columbus 44-34-5-2 L1 22-16-2-2 22-18-3-0 2-2-0-0 42-32-5-2 ---
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh Columbus
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
4/21/14 PIT 4 CLB 3 41 17 0-6 20 37 0-4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Pittsburgh B. Bennett 2
Columbus B. Dubinsky 2
Goals Player  
Pittsburgh J. Jokinen 1
Columbus C. Atkinson 1
Assists Player  
Pittsburgh B. Bennett 2
Columbus B. Dubinsky 2
Saves Player  
Pittsburgh M. Fleury 17
Columbus S. Bobrovsky 37
Season
Total Points Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 111
Columbus R. Johansen 69
Goals Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 37
Columbus R. Johansen 36
Assists Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 74
Columbus J. Wisniewski 45
Saves Player  
Pittsburgh M. Fleury 1758
Columbus S. Bobrovsky 1770
Quickchart Matchup
Pittsburgh Off vs  Columbus Def
2.98 GF
2.65 GA
30.2 Shots
31 Shots
68 PP
53 PK
Columbus Off vs  Pittsburgh Def
2.78 GF
2.52 GA
29.8 Shots
28.9 Shots
57 PP
41 PK