By Scott Taylor
Series B: Pittsburgh Penguins (50-21-11, 111 points) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (50-24-8, 108 points)
The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins didn’t have a great year but they sure had a good one. Led by captain Sidney Crosby who had 44 goals and 89 points, the Pens got 33 goals from Evgeni Malkin and 70 points from Phil Kessel. They also have a nice, young defense and a sound (if not spectacular) goaltender in Matt Murray.
Columbus is led by Coach of the Year lock, John Tortorella, who made the Blue Jackets one of the toughest teams in the league to play against. They only had one player with 60-plus points, 35-goal scorer Cam Atkinson but the key to their success was goalie Sergei Bobrovsky who went 41-17-0 with a 2.06 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.
Pittsburgh won the last meeting 4-1 on April 4 and that might be more indicative of this matchup than Columbus’ 7-1 win back on Dec. 22.
Players to Watch:
Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Matt Murray
Columbus: Cam Atkinson, Brandon Saad and Sergei Bobrovsky
Season Series: Series tied 2-2.
Our Choice: Pittsburgh in six games.