Columbus Blue Jackets (25-27-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (32-15-9)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 19, 2015, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -230 / Columbus Blue Jackets +205 --- 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 find themselves in third place in the Metropolitan Division standings, and that’s not where they want to stay if they have any desires of getting out of the first round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh is 32-16-9 this season with 73 points, but they have not been able to figure out their own division all year long. The Penguins having a winning record against every division in the league except for their own where they’ve posted a 7-10-4 record. If they can’t find a way to win the division it looks like they’ll be matched up with either the New York Rangers or New York Islanders in the first round, two teams that they’ve combined to go 2-4-2 against. Not only that, but the Penguins have allowed 31 goals in those eight games. Heading into Thursday night’s match up with the Columbus Blue Jackets the Penguins have lost two straight games. Tuesday night they played the Washington Capitals, another team chasing them in the Metropolitan Division, as they coughed up two third period goals in a 3-1 loss. Steve Downie’s 10th of the year made it a 1-1 game early in the second period but the Penguins had a rough night solving Braden Holtby. Kris Letang’s slashing penalty led to the game winning goal for the Capitals on the power play. Pittsburgh had an opportunity to even the game with a power play of their own in the final two minutes, but instead they allowed a short handed goal as the Capitals iced it. This becomes a big game for the Penguins since the teams around them just keep finding ways to win and they’ve got the St. Louis Blues on deck on Saturday night. There’s also a tough West Coast road trip coming up next weekend as well.
For the Columbus Blue Jackets it’s just about finding a way to finish the season strong. Things haven’t worked out the way the Blue Jackets wanted to this season because of all the injuries they faced early in the season. There’s till time left but it would take an absolutely incredible run for them to get to the playoffs this year. Thursday night the Blue Jackets got a nice win in Philadelphia against the Flyers despite being absolutely dominated in the second period. James Wisniewski’s power play goal and Ryan Johansen’s 21st of the season gave Columbus a 2-0 lead after one period of play, but it was all Flyers for the next 20 minutes. Philadelphia fired 20 shots at Curtis McElhinney but didn’t crack the netminder until Wayne Simmonds finally broke three with under three minutes left in the period. The Flyers would score again less than two minutes later to make it a 2-2 game heading into the third period. Columbus settled things down during the intermission and Matt Calvert would score the deciding goal at 9:54 of the final period. Brandon Dubinsky would add his sixth of the season and Calvert would add his second of the night as the Blue Jackets would go on to the 5-2 win.
This is a game that the Penguins absolutely need to win and they most likely will. The line is reflective of that however and with how up and down Pittsburgh has been of late it’s hard to play them at this number. Remember, the Blue Jackets aren’t intimidated by the Penguins at all. We saw that last season in the playoffs and we’ve seen it this season as well. Columbus one the only meeting between these two clubs 4-3 in a shootout back in December.