Quick Hits: Blue Jackets vs. Penguins
Read: Penguins Jackets metrics
The Columbus Blue Jackets enter their second appearance in the post-season with a daunting task in front of them: the Penguins.
With an 0-4 career post-season record, the Blue Jackets will attempt to awaken some of the post-season demons that have haunted the Penguins in recent Springs.
Here are a few things to watch heading into this series.
Remember the 2007 playoffs?
The Penguins were green. Lead by a group of budding superstars, they entered into Ottawa with high hopes of an upset in their first post-season series.
The experience-laden Senators disposed of them handily in five games.
The Penguins now have the shoe on the other foot. They roll into the playoffs with 1,154 post-season games played on their roster. Columbus enters the series with 251.
That’s not to say that the Blue Jackets can’t get the job done. They’ve been playing for their post-season lives ever since the Olympic break and have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL.
But when Sidney Crosby boasts more career post-season goals (40) than the most experienced Columbus player (Dubinsky) boasts post-season appearances (31), you have to take the experience card into consideration.
12 Blue Jackets will be making their NHL post-season debut this week in Pittsburgh. We could see a baptism by fire.
There isn’t a player in this series that will be under a microscope more than Marc-Andre Fleury.
His postseason numbers haven’t been good. The meltdown in the Islanders series is still fresh on the minds of Penguin fans across the country.
It seemed as if every save Fleury made in the regular season was prefaced with; “Great, let’s see what he does in April.”
Well, April has arrived.
No goaltender in this Stanley Cup tournament has the experience that Marc-Andre Fleury has. With 45 post-season wins to his credit, a refreshed attitude, and a seemingly calm demeanor, Fleury will attempt to discredit his detractors and once again be the man that leads the Penguins to the promise land.
Marc-Andre Fleury played only 64 games for the Penguins this season, his lowest full-season total since he lead the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2009.
Crosby vs. Johansen
One thing we know for sure, Dan Bylsma used Sidney Crosby this year in a much different capacity.
This season saw Bylsma put Crosby out against the top unit on a nightly basis. Crosby responded by winning the Art Ross trophy despite facing the toughest competition of his NHL career.
Knowing this, I’d expect to see Crosby’s unit go head to head with budding superstar Ryan Johansen. Johansen, the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, had his coming out party in the NHL this season by posting 33 goals and 30 assists this season.
In the previous head to head match-up’s between these teams, Johansen ended the series with just one goal and one assist.
Want proof of this pending match-up?
Here are the shift chart numbers from the December 9th game between Pittsburgh and Columbus in the first period. Ryan Johansen got a heaping serving of Sidney Crosby.
Crosby is now riding a 10 game point streak against the Blue Jackets, with 17 total points in 11 games against them.