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The Columbus Blue Jackets, fresh off a shocking 4-0 sweep of Tampa Bay, face Boston in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. During the regular season, Boston took two of three games from the Blue Jackets.
A long rest for CBJ
Columbus shocked the world by taking out the top team in the NHL, Tampa Bay, in four games. And three of the four games weren’t even close as they outscored the Lightning, 19-8 in the four-game series. The Blue Jackets were the most active team at the trade deadline and it showed with Matt Duchene scoring three games and tallying seven points in the series. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was dominant, turning away 109 of 117 shots in the series. Columbus also excelled on the power play, going 5 of 10.
— x-Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 23, 2019
In the regular season, Artemi Panarin leads the way with 87 points and 59 assists. Duchene adds 31 goals and 39 assists, while right winger Cam Atkinson leads in goals with 41. CBJ ranks 11th in goals against (2.8gpg), 7th in shots against (29.5) and second in penalty kill (85%). On offense, they rank 12th in goals per game (3.1), 16th in shots per game (31.6) and 28th in power play (15.4%). Bobrovsky is 37-24-1 with a 2.58 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.
Bruins do it the tough way
Boston split with Toronto at home to open their playoff series and then split on the road. They lost Game 5 at home, 2-1 and then won their last games to upend the Maple Leafs in seven games. The Bruins took care of business in Game 7 at home, winning 5-1 on Tuesday to advance to the conference semifinals. Goaltender Tuukka Rask is coming off a .912 save percentage this season, which is a career-worst. He also had his fewest wins since 2012-13, but came up big against the Maple Leafs, allowing just five goals in his last three games. That included a 32-save performance on Tuesday. Brad Marchand led the Bruins with four goals and five assists against Toronto.
On the season, Boston ranks third in the NHL in goals against (2.6), sixth in shots against (29.5) and 16th in penalty kill (79.9). On offense, they rank 11th in goals per game (3.1), ninth in shots (32.7) and third in power play (25.9%). That power play was on target against Toronto, as they went 7 of 16. David Pastrnak (38g, 43a), Marchand (36g, 64a) and Patrice Bergeron (32g, 47a) are the leading scorers.
- 2-5 last 7 after a win.
- 0-4 last 4 conference semifinal games.
- 5-0 last 5 after a win.
- 4-0 last 4 playoff games as an underdog.
- 20-6 last 26 Thursday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I’m going with the team that had more rest and that’s Columbus. Boston just played a gruelling seven-game series and the Blue Jackets haven’t played since April 16, so they had more than a week off. But Columbus is also a different team since they made those deals at the trade deadline and they have the utmost confidence right now. It’s tough to go against them after they dominated the best team in the league.
Prediction: Columbus +135
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams are loaded with quality goal scorers and neither goaltender has been exceptional on a consistent basis. In the regular season, they went 2-1 over but overall, they are 9-1 Over in their last 10 meetings. Columbus is 7-2 Over their last 9 playoff games as an underdog.
Prediction: Over 5.5