Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 Predictions: Columbus Blue Jackets vs Pittsburgh Penguins

For each round of the Stanley Cup playoffs I will publish a series preview with my predictions, and you are encouraged to leave your comments on each article picking the winners of each bracket. You get a bracket filled out correctly through the course of the posts, and I will send you a FanSided hoodie.

Stanley Cup Playoff Foes - Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the rules, it is very simple, you select and comment on each series preview with who you think will win the series. You can add as much opinion as you want, but all I want to know is what team you think will win and in how many games. You don’t necessarily need to get the game count correct to move on to the second round – but that will be used in the tie breaker.

I should preface this and say that there is, like every other year, sometimes no scientific fact behind my selection of these teams, as sometimes, I just don’t want to see a team win a series.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 Columbus Blue Jackets vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Everybody wants to be the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Follow the “Pittsburgh” model.  The Pittsburgh model only works however, if you are the favorite son of the league destined for greatness in a draft after a full year lockout.    For the Columbus Blue Jackets, they want to shatter the Pittsburgh model and end some dominance.  The Columbus Blue Jackets had to face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins five times in their first foray into the Eastern Conference after realignment.  An 0-5 record fell upon the Blue Jackets at the hands of the model franchise, being outscored 16-7.

Going into the series unable to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins and having never won a playoff series game in franchise history – is working drastically against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Preventing Another First Round Sweep

Ask the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers (ok, ask the Buffalo Sabres too) – good things come to those who wait right?  In thirteen regular seasons in the league, fans of the Blue Jackets have waited for a playoff series victory.

The key to securing a victory for the Columbus Blue Jackets and possibly winning the series will come down to goaltending.  Pittsburgh’s goaltending tandem is suspect.  If the Columbus Blue Jackets can figure out how to get into the head of Marc-Andre Fleury, they have a good chance of stealing a game or few from the Penguins.  The pressure has to be mounting for Fleury who has been haunted by a dismal playoff performance since the Penguins won their Stanley Cup.  Fleury got them close in 2008, helped them win it all in 2009; and then has flatlined for the Penguins since then.  If the Jackets can get inside his brain matter, his backup has zero NHL playoff experience, so the playing field levels out.

On the other side of the frozen pitch is Sergei Bobrovsky.  Bobrovsky missed four of the five meetings.  Last season he was the goalie best judged to be the best at his position as recognized by the general managers of the National Hockey League.  Bobrovsky’s playoff record has not been so untarnished either – and is being backed up by another unproven similar to Fleury in Curtis McElhinney.

Playoff Schedule

Wednesday, April 16 7:30 p.m. Columbus at Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC
Saturday, April 19 7 p.m. Columbus at Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC
Monday, April 21 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at Columbus NBCSN, CBC
Wednesday, April 23 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at Columbus NBCSN, CBC
*Saturday, April 26 TBD Columbus at Pittsburgh CBC
*Monday, April 28 TBD Pittsburgh at Columbus CBC
*Wednesday, April 30 TBD Columbus at Pittsburgh CBC


As much as I can’t stand the “Pittsburgh model” and always enjoy a good underdog story – their is no Cinderella story here.  Columbus will celebrate and revel in their first cannon firing experience in the playoffs, stealing one game – but the Pittsburgh Penguins will win this series in five games, easily moving on to the second round.

Tags: Blue Jackets Buffalo Sabres Penguins Playoff Predictions Stanley Cup

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