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Saturday, April 19, 2014
R.J. Umberger back in Jackets' lineup

By Scott Burnside
ESPN.com

The Columbus Blue Jackets will have a little Steel-town flavor in their lineup when they face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal Saturday night.

Veteran forward R.J. Umberger, a Pittsburgh native, will be in the lineup after sitting Game 1 with an injury.

R.J. Umberger
R.J. Umberger is back in the lineup after missing Game 1.

The Blue Jackets are hoping to even the series after dropping the first game Wednesday by a 4-3 count.

The 6-foot-2 Umberger is expected to play with Artem Anisimov and Blake Comeau and is hoping his unit can make life miserable for the Pittsburgh defenders and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

"Hopefully a lot of energy. Hopefully some puck possession down low in the zone, get in front of Fleury, you know battle, I like to be in front of that net. The line I'm playing with is a pretty big line and we can create some puck possession and some cycling. That would be good," Umberger said after the Blue Jackets' pregame skate.

Umberger played against Pittsburgh when he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference final in 2008.

"I think the circumstances are a little bit different," he said. "Obviously the rivalry between Philly and Pittsburgh was to a whole different level but this is an awesome group we have here. This is something special I think we're starting in this organization and this team. You've got to start somewhere with a rivalry between the Penguins and us and this is the first step."

Center Brandon Dubinsky said it will be "huge" to have Umberger back in the lineup, given his playoff experience and size.

"He means a lot to our team," Dubinsky said.

Coach Todd Richards expects Umberger to do what he's done all season: go hard to the net.

"I expect him to come out and play fast, play big," Richards said.

The coach figures it'll be a pretty emotional time for Umberger, playing in front of friends and family in the playoffs.

"He's going to be a good addition to our team," Richards said.

The Blue Jackets will not have forward Nick Foligno in the Game 2 lineup. Foligno, out with a knee injury, skated after the team's skate Saturday and Richards said he is hopeful Foligno will be ready to go in Game 3 Monday when the series shifts to Columbus.