Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets playoff betting preview April 22, 2014
Game 4 NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Betting Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets
When the playoffs began, the Columbus Blue Jackets were one of the longshots to win the East at (+5,000). The Pittsburgh Penguins, however were one of the favorites to go the Stanley Cup Finals at (+700). Most experts wrote columns that the 1st round matchup of the Penguins v the Blue Jackets would be a piece of cake. Well as the saying goes." The games are not played on paper." Although the Blue Jackets are down 2 games to 1 heading into Wednesday night's Game 4, they have certainly given Pittsburgh a fight.
In Game 1, Pittsburgh was able to maintain home ice advantage by winning 4 to 3. The game was tied in the 3rd period when Brandon Sutter scored with 12 minutes left. The Penguins have the 5th highest ranked defense in the regular season and thus was able to keep the Blue Jackets scoreless in the 3rd period. Columbus started well; scoring two goals in the 1st period. Jack Johnson scored within the first six minutes for Columbus. Pittsburgh countered with Jussi Jokinen's goal to tie things up. Then Columbus went on the power play and Matt Letestu scored for the Blue Jackets. Game 1 was the night of the power play, as three of the seven goals scored were power play goals. Pittsburgh was ranked 1st in the NHL in the power play in the regular season. They showed off that skill, as they scored two power play goals in Game 1. The story in this game was the Blue Jackets' inability to score when it counted. Derek Mackenzie's scored a short-handed goal two minutes into the 2nd period. From that point on Columbus was scoreless.
In Game 2, the power play also showed up huge. This time it was in favor of Columbus. With a few minutes left in Game 2, the Penguins has a 3 to 2 lead. It looked as though Pittsburgh was going to have a commanding 2 games to 0 series lead. Then Penguins' defenseman Kris Letang got a two-minute penalty for interference. Columbus was only ranked 11th in the power play in the regular season. However, they were able to take advantage of this opportunity, when Jack Johnson scored to tie the game. Matt Calvert then scored his second goal of the game, in the 2nd overtime, to give Columbus the win. Calvert's other goal was a short-handed goal in the 2nd period. Although Pittsburgh lost, their power play again was effective. Matt Niskanen scored with the one man advantage in the 1st period. Brian Gibbons was Pittsburgh's main star, as he scored two goals in the loss.
Although Game 3 changed scenery to Columbus, its story was similar to that of Game 1. Like Game 1, Pittsburgh was able to score when it counted, while Columbus could not get it done in crunch time. Columbus again started out strong. Boone Jenner scored the 1st goal of the game for the Blue Jackets, followed by Jack Johnson scoring his 3rd goal of the series. Pittsburgh then countered with Brooks Orpik's goal with two seconds left in the 2nd period. Orpik's goal would be the only goal in the 2nd period for either team. Then Cam Atkinson scored a minute into the third period to give the Blue Jackets a commanding 3-1 lead. However, Pittsburgh scored three unanswered goals. Brandon Sutter scored his 2nd goal of the series for Pittsburgh. This act was followed by Lee Stempniak's goal and then finally Jussi Jokinen's game winner with 12 minutes left to go. This goal was also Jokinen's 2nd of the series. Again Pittsburgh defense from strong down the stretch, as they kept Columbus scoreless for most of the 3rd period.
The Pattern for this series, seems to be art of the comeback. A game in this series is not over until there are all zeroes left on the clock. Pittsburgh has a ton of momentum heading into Game 4. They have proven they can score on the Blue Jacket's defense whenever they need to, especially on the power play. Pittsburgh is like one of those old championship teams which has the ability to turn it up a notch when they have to. Although Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has not had a good series, it does not seem to matter to the Penguins. They are a very strong offensive team. If you take out the two overtime periods of Game 2, the Penguins have scored 11 goals in nine periods. In Game 4, look for Pittsburgh to be aggressive and try to draw Columbus into penalties. This in turn would give Pittsburgh power play opportunities, which have been their bread and butter all year. Although Game 4 is in Columbus, Pittsburgh has the momentum and the better team. The Penguins appear to have an advantage in Game 4.
* Betting lines mentioned in this article are subject to change due to time sensitivity. Please visit the sports betting lines for up to date odds.
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