Wednesday Playoffs Open Thread: Do the Blue Jackets want the Leafs or Bruins next?

The CBJ await their next opponent

With the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning dead and buried and loose dirt swept over the grave with an especially strong broom, the Columbus Blue Jackets now await the winner of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins series.

Toronto leads the series 2-1 and will host the Bruins in Game 4 tonight. Nazem Kadri has been suspended for the rest of the series and a Bruins win tonight would guarantee the series goes at least six games, a welcome development for a Blue Jackets squad who could use their next opponent banging on each other some more.

Who do the Blue Jackets match up with better?

Boston overcame a slew of injuries to turn in one of the league’s stoutest defenses (third in goals against during the regular season at 2.59 per game) and tied for second in the NHL with 107 points (can’t remember who was first, but probably someone good). They’re not a team that fills up the back of the net as much as others, but they sure did against Columbus in the final regular season matchup where the Bruins hung six on the CBJ. That game now looks like an aberration given how the Blue Jackets have started the playoffs, sandwiched around an otherwise strong ending to the season.

Toronto boasts a potent offense (fourth in the NHL in goals per game at 3.49) with a talented, deep group of forwards led by wunderkind Auston Matthews. The Leafs stumbled a bit down the stretch by winning only five of their final 16 regular season games, though a a win tonight would give them a 3-1 stranglehold in this series. All three games in the season series between Columbus and Toronto ended in a 4-2 scoreline, with Toronto taking a pair of wins. All three games were also played before New Year’s Day, including the trade deadline and the late-season jelling of the CBJ.

Both ranked higher than the Blue Jackets in statistical categories like CF% and FF%, though Columbus held a slight edge over Toronto in xGF%.

Season Series vs. Boston (1-1-1)

03/12/2019 BOS 4 @ CBJ 7
03/16/2019 CBJ 1 @ BOS 2 (OT)
04/02/2019 BOS 6 @ CBJ 2

Season Series vs. Toronto (1-2-0)

11/19/2018 CBJ 2 @ TOR 4
11/23/2018 TOR 2 @ CBJ 4
12/28/2018 TOR 4 @ CBJ 2

Who would you rather see the Blue Jackets play in Round Two?

Toronto Maple Leafs615
Boston Bruins240

Let’s continue to bask in last night’s win as we watch tonight’s games in the comments. The boys and the fans have earned a bit of rest, eh?

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