NHL Picks: Penguins vs. Blue Jackets in Game 6

David Lawrence

Sunday, April 27, 2014 3:43 PM GMT

Sunday, Apr. 27, 2014 3:43 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Penguins – and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury – kept it together in Game 5 of their first-round series with a tight 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’ve been tested in this matchup but they are favored on the NHL odds to rock the Blue Jackets to bed on Monday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins Can Win Because…
Their offense has been consistent over the last few games. When you start to take a look back, the Pens offense has been rolling for the last three games. The match was lit in the second period of Game 3 and since then, the fire has been burning. They’ve been putting a lot of pressure on the Blue Jackets defense, averaging 39 shots per game over the last three, and that’s changed the series. Had Marc-Andre Fleury not handed the Blue Jackets a freebie in Game 4, this series would be done already.

The Pens have scored at least three goals in every game while the Blue Jackets scored just one in Game 5 and struggled offensively in Game 4 as well. All signs point to a Pens win, assuming Fleury plays well.

 

The Columbus Blue Jackets Can Win Because…
They’re back at home where they can rattle Fleury once more. The Blue Jackets have scored seven goals in two home games in this series and they’ll need that offense to perk up once more. The Pens have been scoring consistently in this series but the Blue Jackets have tapered off. Coming back home should revive their offense.

The Blue Jackets are playing with the house’s money here. Nothing was expected of them in this series and even if they lose on Monday, the playoffs will still be a success for them. But playing with no pressure should allow them to be more relaxed and that’s exactly what they need to do to force a Game 7.

 

Outlook & Pick
The Pens similarly struggled against the New York Islanders in the first round last season but woke up in time to oust them in six games. The same story appears to be playing out here. The Pens have been focused for the last three games and as long as Fleury doesn’t cripple them again, they’ll win. Take them with your NHL picks.

Hockey Pick: Penguins at BetOnline

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