Date/Time: April 19th, 7:00 p.m. ET
Television: NBC Sports Network
Moneyline: Pittsburgh -204
The Stanley Cup Playoffs will continue on Saturday night in NHL betting action when the Pittsburgh Penguins play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets on NBC Sports Network at 7:00 p.m. ET on the ice inside the CONSOL Energy Center. This will be the second of a seven game series between these two Eastern Conference foes with the Pens leading 1-0 after a win Wednesday night.
The Blue Jackets showed why they are a dangerous playoff team on Wednesday as they took a 3-1 lead in the second period of Game 1. Goals from Jack Johnson, Mark Letestu, and Derek MacKenzie put Columbus in a great position to win, but it couldn’t close the deal as it allowed the Penguins three consecutive goals to close the contest. It was the penalty kill that failed these Blue Jackets in the opening game as they could not stop two power play goals from the Pens in the second period. Columbus G Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves in the loss and he must bounce back with a great performance in this game. Bobrovsky finished the season with a 2.38 GAA and a .923 save percentage. After MacKenzie’s goal the Blue Jackets failed to score in the last 38:17 of the game which is something that can’t happen when they’re facing one of the best offensive units in the league. For a victory in Game 2 this team will have to limit the penalties it takes and kill the penalties it does commit.
The Penguins came out flat in Game 1 and they really gave the visitors every chance to win the game at the end. It was a big night for Evgeni Malkin whose hustle resulted in him dishing out two assists including the goal that tied the game from Matt Niskanen late in the second period. Pittsburgh really opened things up once it trailed by two goals and once its skaters found open ice the offense couldn’t be stopped. Pens G Marc-Andre Fleury struggled early in the game, but he didn’t allow the Blue Jackets to get any goals when the chips were down. Fleury will have to tighten up his game on Saturday to give his team a much easier path to victory. Pittsburgh has been a very solid home team this season it is now 29-9-4 when playing in the steel city. This game figures to be a big test for the Penguins to pass as they must keep winning to keep home ice advantage in the series.
The Blue Jackets are going to come into this game with their guns blazing just as they did in the opening game of the series. We expect to see them do it again and there will be no mistakes for Pittsburgh to take advantage of on this night. Believe it or not, we like the Blue Jackets to get the job done and earn a split as they head home for Games three and four. Columbus Blue Jackets @ Pittsburgh Penguins Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.