Penguins – Blue Jackets Fallout
The most important takeaway out of the Penguins 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets is an obvious one.
Pittsburgh and Columbus have elite starting goaltenders in Matt Murray and Sergei Bobrovsky. Those two going head-to-head would be fun in April.
Nothing else should be taken out of last night’s game that gives a glimpse of what to expect in a seven game series if these two clubs are indeed on a collision course to a first round matchup, and let’s hope they are because Rangers – Penguins is getting quite boring.
Pittsburgh missing two top-9 forwards, in addition to Justin Schultz and Olli Maatta, this was a well earned point, coming off a physical game the night before.
Shots were 39-39 with Pittsburgh having a 61-60 edge in 5 v 5 shot attempts.
Columbus poses a potential challenge to the Penguins and how much they get up for the Penguins is something that can’t be taken for granted, especially if they got home ice, but one clear edge in the Penguins favor with how these two rosters are currently constructed is Pittsburgh’s center depth over a seven game series.
Brandon Dubinsky had a very strong game, overtime winner, and his line drove possession, on the ice for 27 shot attempts, 17 against, but they need another top-9 center before the deadline, and don’t have the type of depth at center that could overwhelm the Penguins over seven games. Dubinsky, others would fizzle out.
A second edge for the Penguins is Matt Murray’s ability to go toe-to-toe with Bobrovsky and the fact that Murray has proven he can win in the post-season, Bobrovsky hasn’t.
Matt Murray does not get embraced enough in this town in how he’s one of the biggest reasons the Penguins Cup window reopened last spring (just ask the Washington Capitals who felt they lost to Pittsburgh because of Murray) and is so wide open for the next three to four years with this current core.
The Penguins have lucked into upgrading their starting goaltender position through the draft with a third round pick who no one saw being this good and without having to go out and spend $6 million per season on a goaltender, at least for the next three years.
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