The Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t look nervous to start the franchise’s second-ever playoff series but they didn’t look great either. They blew three separate leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-1 to go on to lose 4-3 in Pittsburgh, disappointing those who took them with their NHL picks. So far, it looks like that will be the theme of the series: the Blue Jackets are good but not good enough.
The Columbus Blue
Jackets Can Win Because…
They know the model: do more of the same. The Blues Jackets were extremely physical in Game 1 and created a bunch of quality scoring opportunities. Better yet, they took advantage more often than not, lighting the lamp three times. Pens goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has some mental hurdles to overcome in this series and so far, he hasn’t looked very strong. Chances are, if the Blue Jackets are getting three goals a game, they are going to win the series.
What they need to do a better job of is penalty killing – Pens were two-of-three on the power play – and transition defense. If they can cut that down, Sergei Bobrovsky will help lead them to a win in Game 2. They’re worth a look on the NHL odds.
Penguins Can Win Because…
The Blue Jackets aren’t ready for this moment. They played a great opening period in Game 1 and held a 3-1 lead early in the second, but that didn’t even matter. It was only a matter of time before Pittsburgh took over.
What’s scary is that the Pens scored four times and their big weapons didn’t do much. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had an assist while Chris Kunitz and James Neal were left pointless. The Blue Jackets are in trouble if these guys get going and we all know it’s just a matter of itme.
Outlook & Pick
The Pens were down multiple times in Game 1 and never look threatened. They just aren’t taking Columbus seriously enough right now and that’s because they don’t have to. Their offense should be able to do whatever it wants. They have a huge edge in talent in this series and that will show again in Game 2.
However, I’m not laying all of that juice. I think the Pens will score at will and the Blue Jackets will again do enough for us to get to the over.
Hockey Pick: Over 5.5 at Bodog