Pittsburgh Penguins (51-24-7) at Columbus Blue Jackets (43-32-7)
|Date & Time||Monday April 28, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Columbus Blue Jackets +121 / Pittsburgh Penguins -133 --- Over/Under: 5.5
The Blue Jackets look to force a deciding game seven as they head back to Nationwide Arena to host the Penguins on Monday.
The Pittsburgh Penguins still haven’t found their groove offensively as the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, and James Neal have all been ghosts on the score sheet yet somehow the Pens are up 3-2 in their series with the Jackets and can wrap things up with a win on Monday. Marc-Andre Fleury who has perhaps the most amount of pressure on him than anyone else in these playoffs responded very nicely in game five after almost single handily costing the Pens in game four and if they are going to close out the series on the road they’ll need another good outing from him. There is no question surrounding the Pittsburgh offense as they can go off at any time and bring their team back into any contest but it is their defensive play that always sparks debate and while the core of Matt Niskanen, Kris Letang, and Paul Martin may not be the most formidable in the game they are certainly capable of keeping Columbus in check.
The Blue Jackets have been a very nice story this season as they exceeded expectations and made the playoffs and added to that achievement by winning their first road and home playoff games in franchise history but they aren’t happy with that quite yet. Columbus has a chance at knocking off the heavily favoured Penguins and set up a second round show down with either the Rangers of Flyers, both of which the Jackets match up well with. Columbus has been gritty and is playing the better hockey of late but the talent disparity is still evident as Pittsburgh has been able to fend them off while playing subpar hockey and have been able to find ways to win. Sergei Bobrovsky is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and always gives the Jackets a chance to win but what really scares me is that the Penguins haven’t had a really good game yet in these playoffs and I feel like the volcano is about to burst. They had their most complete team game on Saturday and now I think they really turn it up when it matters and put an end to Columbus’ Cinderella season.