NHL

Blue Jackets-Penguins Preview

Columbus Blue Jackets' Jack Johnson (7) celebrates his goal with teammates in the first period of a first-round NHL playoff hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Photo:

Columbus Blue Jackets' Jack Johnson (7) celebrates his goal with teammates in the first period of a first-round NHL playoff hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Sidney Crosby fought Brandon Dubinsky the last time the Pittsburgh Penguins met the Columbus Blue Jackets, though that won't happen again.

Dubinsky is out for the visiting Blue Jackets on Sunday evening when they try to end a five-game slide as well as the Penguins' three-game win streak.

These clubs played an intense first-round series last season, which Pittsburgh (35-17-9) captured in six games.

Columbus (26-31-4) has responded by taking the first two 2014-15 meetings, including a 2-1 win at Pittsburgh on Feb. 19.

Crosby was held without a point that night after amassing 17 in a 10-game streak in the regular season versus Columbus. In the second period, he dropped his gloves to fight Dubinsky - a nemesis over the years. The Blue Jackets center went on to score the winning short-handed goal with 2:17 left.

Dubinsky is out indefinitely due to concussion symptoms. In any case, Crosby insists he will keep his gloves on Sunday.

"I think my last fight before that was four or five years ago so I would probably not bet on seeing another one," Crosby said.

The Penguins have won three straight since losing to the Blue Jackets, with Crosby totaling four points. He scored his 20th goal in Wednesday's 4-3 win at Washington.

Fellow superstar Evgeni Malkin has eight points in a four-game run. Crosby has 62 points and Malkin 61.

Gritty forward Daniel Winnik will make his Pittsburgh debut after being acquired Wednesday from Toronto. He had seven goals and 18 assists this season.

"I think anybody that gets traded you hope it's to a team that has a chance to win the Cup and I've been fortunate to be traded in here and have that chance for the rest of the year," Winnik said.

He'll see a former teammate in David Clarkson, who made his Columbus debut in Saturday's 2-0 home loss to New Jersey after being acquired Thursday from the Maple Leafs. His new team held a 33-19 edge in shots.

''We did a lot of good things,'' Clarkson said. ''Of course, you always think you can do better."

Curtis McElhinney stopped 17 of 18 shots as Columbus fell to 0-4-1 in its last five games.

Sergei Bobrovsky, who has missed the last 16 games because of a groin injury, could be back after he was activated Saturday. Coach Todd Richards did not name a starting goalie after Saturday's defeat.

The Blue Jackets went 0 for 3 on the power play to drop to an NHL-worst 4.9 percent since the All-Star break. They are 0 for 20 in their last six games.

Columbus backup center Brian Gibbons, who was recalled from the minors Friday, will play in Pittsburgh for the first time since he was a rookie last season with the Penguins.

These teams are among the NHL's leaders in hits per game. Pittsburgh is preparing to get ready for the physical challenge that awaits.

"Against Columbus, they're the type of team they're a heavy forechecking team so you've got to be able to skate through your zone quick," coach Mike Johnston said. "And that's the real focus for us going into tomorrow night's game."

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