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Penguins – Blue Jackets Series Fallout

“We just played one of the top teams in the league. I believe our best hockey is ahead of us.” — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan

“A very good team we played, and we had no fear. I’m proud of our club. That didn’t feel like a 4-1 series. But they win it.” — Jackets coach John Tortorella


The Pittsburgh Penguins are off to Round 2 with a 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets, doing quick work in the first round for the second consecutive year.

Games 3 and 4 had a ton of ebbs and flows and Game 5 also lived up to that reputation.

Pittsburgh after building a 3-0 lead, saw the game turned into just a 3-2 lead but when an official waved off a Blue Jackets game tying goal and called Alex Wenneberg for interfering goaltender Marc Andre Fleury, the Penguins did what the Penguins do, take advantage of a power play opportunity to put the Blue Jackets away and that’s exactly what they did.

Sidney Crosby scored a power play goal to put the Penguins up 4-2 and then 51 seconds later Scott Wilson beats a scrambling Sergei Bobrovsky in front to make it 5-2.

Game, set, match. — Series Over.

Blue Jackets strategy late in series of trading chances almost works

Columbus might have stayed true to their identity in doing too much dump and chase throughout the series, but as the series progressed, Columbus coaches and players started to see they could trade chances with Pittsburgh and as dangerous of a strategy that might be against a Pittsburgh team that is more skilled and has a better ability to create and finish grade-A chances, it’s a strategy for Columbus that should have worked if Sergei Bobrovsky would have at least been average and not a train-wreck in all five games.

This was an implosion by what’s going to be a 2-time Vezina Trophy winning goaltender and it was a series that should have went at least six games if Bobrovsky showed up.

I thought Marc Andre Fleury’s Game 1 and Game 2 performances were more of a team product as the Penguins were so good in limiting high danger scoring chances. Games 3 and 4 Fleury wasn’t good enough as the grade-A chances increased for Columbus.

Game 5 was a total transformation from Fleury.

The juicy rebounds were still there from Fleury like in Games 3 and 4 that were problematic but this was one of the best performances I’ve seen from him with his positioning/angles on second and third chance opportunities from the Blue Jackets.

Fleury was tracking the puck so well on shots with traffic and on rebound chances that led to his big night and a 49 save performance.

What Fleury’s strong performance did in an elimination game for the Blue Jackets was put pressure on Bobrovsky to match Fleury at the other end and it was no match. Instead Bobrovsky was the one constantly out of position on shots from the left and right side of the net.

As we’ll be seeing mushy stories about Fleury for a week now till the Penguins play again, let’s not forget he’s nearly a $6 million a year goaltender who is paid to give the Penguins performances like this.

Fleury did his job.

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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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