Pittsburgh Penguins (52-21-11) at Columbus Blue Jackets (50-26-8)
|Date & Time||Sunday April 16, 2017, 6:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Columbus Blue Jackets -120 / Pittsburgh Penguins +109 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Pittsburgh Penguins look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead as the series shifts to Columbus for the next two, beginning on Sunday evening.
The Penguins look to continue their dominance and win their third straight game of these playoffs as they are looking very dangerous and every bit as good as they did to win the Cup last year and with a win here they can start booking their plans for the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Pittsburgh is loaded in the offensive zone and have a very serviceable blue line as well even without the injured Kris Letang and while Columbus was one of the best teams in the defensive zone this season thanks to the play of Vezina contender Sergei Bobrovsky in the crease it has been the Pens who have shone through in their defensive third in this series. Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to continue getting action in the Penguins crease as he will face off against Bobrovsky in what should be an exciting contest in Ohio on Sunday.
The Blue Jackets meanwhile head home for a much anticipated playoff game in front of what should be an electric crowd but they can quickly be neutralized if the Pens can score early and take the crowd out of it. Columbus has been absolutely dreadful over the last few weeks and came into the playoffs playing some of their worst hockey of the season as they are now 1-8 in their last nine contests and winless in their last six against the Metro which has them with their backs against the wall coming into game three on Sunday. Columbus has been good at home this season though and if they’re going to keep their dream season alive they know they need to find a way to win both games here as they cannot afford to go back to Pittsburgh with the possibility of the series coming to an end.
The Penguins are 6-2 in their last eight overall and 13-4 in their last 17 Sunday games while the Jackets are 1-6 in their last seven against the East and 8-2 in their last 10 Sunday games. Pittsburgh is the better team here and while Columbus has had a strong season I don’t see them as a playoff threat at all and they get dealt another loss here as the Pens get it done on the road.