COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without veteran winger R.J. Umberger for the team’s pivotal sixth game against the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night, head coach Todd Richards said Monday morning. The team will also be without defenseman Nikita Nikitin. Both are injured, although Richards did not disclose the nature of the injuries. Neither skated Monday morning.
"Not feeling great, so not 100 percent," Richards said of the players.
The Blue Jackets face a must-win situation, trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series after dropping a 3-1 decision in Pittsburgh Saturday night.
"Just in the short time I've been here, the guys have always kind of responded and bounced back after a tough loss or something,” Schultz said Monday. "I think that's what you look to tonight. You've got to look back on those games that you played that you bounced back in and kind of draw off of that."
How the lines and defensive pairings look for the Blue Jackets:
Nick Schultz-James Wisniewski
Meanwhile, it looks like the Penguins will once again be without veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik, who missed Game 5 with an undisclosed injury and was not available for the morning skate Monday.
The coach would not discuss his lineup for Game 6 but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Malkin and Crosby take shifts together now that Marcel Goc is healthy and can slide from fourth-line to third-line center with Brandon Sutter moving up the depth chart to the second line. Bylsma did say his team must be ready to up its intensity in anticipation of the Blue Jackets trying to hang on.
"They are going to bring another level of desperation to the game," Bylsma said. "You have to be ready to match that."
A look at how the line combinations for the Pens in Game 6, at least for the beginning of the game.
Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Lee Stempniak