Columbus Blue Jackets(47-31-4, 5th in Metro) vs Boston Bruins (49-24-9, 2nd in Atlantic)
Regular Season Series: 3 – 1 Boston with 16 goals scored and 1-3 for Toronto with 10 goals scored
The Bruins walk into a new situation as they have never played the Blue Jackets in the playoffs. But you know what to expect from the Bruins hard in your face hockey. The only question that stands for Boston is how much will that affect this series as Columbus Player enjoy the physical aspects of the game.
The Blue Jackets went on a 7-3-0 run to end the season to solidify the last wild card spot in the East. From there, they walked into a series against the number one team in the league the Tampa Bay Lightning and shut them down. Let’s put it this way, the highest scoring team in the league scored 3 in the first game and then the Blue Jackets fought back with 4 to win the first game. Since the Lightning scored 3 in the first game they were held to 5 goals the rest of the series. The acquisitions of Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingle are paying huge dividends finally with Duchene leading the team in scoring and Dzingle playing a pivotal role in the changing games.
Brad Marchand – Marchand tallied 100 points for the first time in his career this season and he looks better than ever. His ability to annoy and put tremendous amounts of points make him the perfect playoff player.
Nick Foligno – Foligno may not be a flashy goal scorer but he’s like Marchand in many ways. He comes to play every night plays physically and scorer dirty goals. Expect him to have a huge impact on this series.
Tuukka Rask started the season off very low and seemingly lost the number 1 spot to backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak. But after a 19 game point streak where he truly regained his form, there were no more questions. Rask finished 27-12-5, with a 2.42 GAA and .912 save percentage. While Halak put in a solid effort when called upon to hold down the fort, finishing 22-11-4 with a 2.34 GAA and .922 save percentage.
Sergei Bobrovsky shared the same kind of season that Rask did. Starting off slow and posting numbers much lower numbers than normal. Bobrovsky’s final numbers were 2.58 GAA and a .913 save percentage. Despite Bobrovsky’s past poor playoff performances he had a bounce back and posted a .932 SV% and 2.01 GAA for Columbus against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Advantage: Goaltending overall goes to Boston with Rask. But If we’re talking head to head and this season only. I’d have to give the advantage to Bobrovsky here. This is in no way a knock on Rask but just based off this year’s performance.
The Bruins are top line heavy after that players drop off considerably. The Bruins have Krecji who has had a revolving door of wingers this season. But rely heavily on that top line and it’s not to say that others are bad players they just aren’t on the level of reliance or scoring ability as Pastrnak, Marchand, and Bergeron. Scoring significantly tales off after the top line for the Bruins but their style of hockey is conducive to that. But during the Toronto series, the Bruins showed that their third line centered by newly acquired center Charlie Coyle can add some much-needed depth scoring to help the 1st and 2nd line.
Columbus scorers have been flying high with new players Duchene and Dzingle finding their groove but adding those guys to a pretty strong offensive defense and 1st line that can score, a 3rd and 4th line that has shown they can pitch in offensively make this team offensively scary.
Advantage – Boston, Only because that top line is so deadly offensively and their depth is top notch.
Bruins have a good defense especially if you’re talking on the defensive side of the game. Offensively not the best but defensively one of the top defenses in the League. Anchored by Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy, through Torey Krug and Kevan Miller, then the 3 remaining in Matt Grezelcyk, Brandon Carlo and John Moore.
Columbus brings a very young defense core, anchored by Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. Jones plays in every situation adding McQuaid to the mix helps on the defensive end. They’ve played tight in their own zone and been good at moving the puck.
Advantage – Columbus – reasoning is in the Toronto series they were kind of on and off in Boston. One game the defense looked great, next game they looked a bit out of sort. So Columbus for now but this could change.
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk — David Krejci — Marcus Johansson
Danton Heinen — Charlie Coyle — Karson Kuhlman
Sean Kuraly — Joakim Nordstrom — Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara — Charlie McAvoy
Brandon Carlo — Torey Krug
Matt Grzelcyk — John Moore
Scratched: Steven Kampfer
Injuries: Connor Clifton
Artemi Panarin — Pierre-Luc Dubois — Olivier Bjorkstrand
Ryan Dzingle — Matt Duchene — Cam Atkinson
Alexandre Texier — Nick Foligno — Josh Anderson
Riley Nash — Boone Jenner — Brandon Dubinsky
Zach Werenski — Seth Jones
Dean Kukan — David Savard
Scott Harrington — Adam Clendening
Scratched: Alexander Wennberg,
Injuries: Ryan Murray, Markus Nutivaara, Adam McQuaid
- Bruins win if the top line of Pastrnak, Marchand, and Bergeron can show the same ability to tear the Jackets defense apart.
- Columbus wins if Bobrovsky continues to play with the confidence he showed in the series against Tampa.
Overall Edge: Boston, for experience and a team that never gives up
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