The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets will meet in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Penguins won the season series against Columbus 5-0. Here is a look back at those games.
November 1, 2013: Pens win 4-2 in Pittsburgh. Our recap:
“Really bizarre game. The Blue Jackets aren’t as bad as the game seemed, but, really, try telling anyone that the Metro Division isn’t the worst in hockey, and maybe all of organized sports, right now:
Regardless of that, you can’t take away Marc-Andre Fleury’s performance. He stole the game. The Blue Jackets had unlimited chances, and the Penguins’ offense basically hit four solo homers.”
November 2, 2013: Pens win 3-0 in Columbus. Our recap:
“Five biggest talking points from this game:
1. What will it be like for the Penguins when Malkin starts filling the net? He is snake-bitten a bit, but based on his career stats he starts picking it up in November.
2. Columbus isn’t terrible. They just aren’t ready to play with the big boys yet.
3. It is early, but if the playoffs started today, the Pens would be dancing with Montreal in the first round. If the Metro keeps going as it has been, the Pens will likely be facing an Atlantic team in the first round. Something to keep in mind.
4. Deryk Engelland has as many goals playing forward as Eric Tangradi did. Most people get jammed about seeing Engelland score. It is hilarious when players drop their balls on the haters. We’ll be the first to admit we didn’t know what to make of Engelland moving up to wing, so we’ve put on hard hats waiting for his balls.
When a guy who plays eight minutes is the number-one star, that basically tells you about the game.
5. All of a sudden, the Pens have won four straight, taking 6 of those points in the Metro and not giving any away, either.”
December 9, 2013: Pens win 2-1 in Pittsburgh. Our recap:
“With the stench of the ugly Boston game still lingering in the air, the Penguins didn’t look great, but they got the job done. Columbus sucks, but it is worth noting they are going to get Nathan Horton and Marian Gaborik back into their lineup at one point. Maybe then they will actually score.”
December 29, 2013: Pens win 5-3 in Columbus. Our recap:
“Rob Scuderi was back, and the big outrage on the Internet was Deryk Engelland getting the call instead of Simon Despres. That debate and discussion will only get worse when Paul Martin’s return boots Bortuzzo up to the press box…and then Kris Letang returns. Knowing Bylsma’s track record, a healthy blue line could mean Engelland will dress instead of Maatta, which would be borderline insanity.
There’s people who say Engelland will be moved to forward again when it’s time to cross that bridge. But why not just have Engelland getting acclimated to playing forward as soon as possible?
But then again, the Penguins are winning games, and they are doing it with a particular style. You could put Gumby in the lineup and the Pens could win a game. The Bylsma system is far more complex than we even thought. And this game was a great example of it. Again we saw the third and fourth lines survive long enough to give Crosby and Neal time. The Blue Jackets couldn’t take advantage, and then they played a horrible third period. It doesn’t hurt that James Neal is in some type of 2000 Alexei Kovalev mode. Neal’s wrister in the slot is almost as automatic as it gets right now.
As for the game itself, the Pens asserted their dominance over the Blue Jackets yet again, although it was pretty much up in the air until the Pens pulled away. “
March 28, 2014: Pens win 2-1 in Columbus. Our recap:
“This game was a total victory for the “wait till Beau Bennett comes back” crowd.
Bennett was easily the best Penguins forward throughout the game, and he got the GWG in the third. It was a breath of fresh air seeing a forward other than Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz or Neal scoring a big goal.
It is hard not to get excited about the possibilities of what this could mean for a team struggling to find secondary scoring, and we are prepared for the “Bennett X Factor” columns over the next few weeks.
Overall this was a fantastic game. If these two teams meet in the playoffs, it should be a high entertainment. The Jackets are probably an elite goal scorer away from really being dangerous, but they still have some players.
Ryan Johansen is a monster. The 21-year-old had a ton of opportunities and looks like he could be the next big thing. And he makes us think about Scarlett.
If it wasn’t for Marc-Andre Fleury, this game would have gone a little differently. There are still some major issues on D. It was even more noticeable in this one because Olli Maatta was finally given a night off.
With the win, the Penguins clinched a playoff berth for the eighth straight season.”
Of course, the playoffs are a totally different animal, so we’ll see what happens. We’ll obviously look at this match-up more in the next couple of days. Game one will likely be on Wednesday.