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Heading into critical home-and-home series, Penguins have Blue Jackets’ number

There is a major household-and-household sequence that could have a enormous effect on the Japanese Conference playoff race coming up in the next number of days.

On Thursday, the hammer hosts the nail. On Saturday, the windshield visits the bug.

Ok, that is not what it says on the official NHL routine. It says the Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, and the groups will play yet again in Ohio’s money two days later. But offered the latest outcomes concerning the golf equipment, it is uncomplicated to body it that way.

The Penguins have gained seven straight conferences in opposition to the Blue Jackets, which include a pair of victories by a blended score of 9-4 this time.

“We understood if we required to advance in the playoffs, we ended up heading to have to defeat these guys. We experienced two playoff sequence in opposition to them that did not go perfectly,” reported defenseman Jack Johnson, who signed with the Penguins in July immediately after expending the previous six-furthermore seasons with the Blue Jackets. “But I never know what their mindset is now, and I never treatment.”

It is attainable the Penguins have experienced the Blue Jackets’ selection over the past number of seasons simply because of a type matchup. When it arrives down to crunch time, the Penguins’ speed-centered attack has completed a lot more possibilities than the Blue Jackets, who concentrate a minor a lot more on grit and physicality.

Johnson isn’t so confident of that, nevertheless.

“Everyone performs a rather similar type of play. No one’s reinventing the wheel. It is a copycat league, rather a great deal,” Johnson reported. “It seriously just arrives down to the persons executing the performs.”

There is no question that is true.

Jake Guentzel, for instance, owns the Blue Jackets. Counting regular time and playoffs, he has 12 goals and 17 factors in 14 job video games in opposition to them.

“I just imagine you know it is heading to be a battle concerning two groups that never like each and every other, and it is heading to be a hard-fought activity,” Guentzel reported. “We’re both preventing in the standings appropriate by each and every other. It is heading to be a hostile activity. As a player, this is a activity you want to be a component of.”

Then there’s the issue of goaltending.

The Penguins have tortured Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky relentlessly over the previous two seasons. He’s -2-3 with a .882 help you save percentage in opposition to them. When experiencing the rest of the league over the identical span, his help you save percentage is .916.

The numbers confident paint the picture that the Penguins have Bobrovsky’s selection, nevertheless Matt Murray isn’t confident the notion of a single crew having a hex on a individual goaltender is a real thing.

“You see so numerous different performs and so numerous different shots,” Murray reported. “You’re not looking at anything you have not found in advance of. I never imagine it tends to make a difference.”

No matter if it is a real thing or a modest-sample dimensions phenomenon, Columbus coach John Tortorella has a significant goaltending choice on his palms.

The Blue Jackets picked up Keith Kinkaid from New Jersey at the trade deadline, and he’s 6-1-1 with a .925 help you save percentage in opposition to the Penguins over the previous two seasons.

Starting off Kinkaid on Thursday and/or Saturday would be tantamount to publicly admitting his No. 1 goalie has a Penguins issue, even if it gives his crew a greater opportunity to gain.

At the chance of over-dramatizing the choice, the fortunes of two groups cling in the equilibrium.

The Penguins, Carolina and Montreal are the past groups in the Japanese Conference playoff subject at the instant, tied with 79 factors. The Blue Jackets are two factors out.

“This time of 12 months, you’ve obtained to belief your patterns and belief what you do out there, irrespective of who’s enjoying in web,” Crosby reported. “You’re usually knowledgeable of tendencies and things like that, but at this level in the 12 months, you’ve obtained to think in what you do and what gives you achievement.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Overview workers writer. You can contact Jonathan by e mail at or by using Twitter .

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