Game 4 Preview: Short Memories, 60 Minutes

Game Four gives Columbus a chance to again answer and even the series. But, to do it, they need to have put Monday's game out of their heads.

Game 4 - Penguins Lead Series 2-1

Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets

April 23, 2014 - 7:00 pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio / NBCSN
Opponent's Blog: Pensburgh

Well, here we are. Game 3 feels like the wounds are still fresh, and also feels like it was a lifetime ago. For the Jackets, they need to have the latter attitude, to have moved on, and to be ready to play tonight.

They did some good things the other night. The PK was good, though forced to be on the ice far too much. They jumped on the Penguins early, and for about 40 minutes they were frustrating the Pens something awful.

But, whether it was fatigue, lucky bounces, adjustments, or mistakes, or a combination of all four (adjustments and fatigue often lead to mistakes, and mistakes often lead to lucky bounces, i.e. you make your own luck), who can say? That said, Monday was a winnable game (much like game 1), and the Jackets hopefully learned something from it with respect to finishing in the playoffs against an experienced team.

The Jackets look to be icing the same lineup from Monday night, and while the Penguins are looking to ice the same players, some line shifts appear to be in the cards early.

For Columbus, the needs tonight are a few:

  • Get their Power Play going again. They had one man advantage in which they dominated, but just couldn't solve Marc-Andre Fleury. The PP was a weapon in the first two games, and needs to be again.
  • Conversely, stay out of the box. We can talk about whether the calls were justified Monday night, but you have to have a feeling of how the refs are going to call a game by the middle of the game, and you need to adapt. They shut out the Pens' PP on six tries, but that's not a gameplan for long-term success.
  • Get shots on Fleury. He's rocking a .899 sv% in the series, and he gave up two soft rebounds early on Monday which the Jackets were able to bury. It stands to reason that Columbus should do that again, only they need to generate more offense. Pittsburgh made some adjustments to the Columbus forecheck which drove down their possession numbers and frustrated them a bit. Columbus will need to adapt themselves and get back to some zone possession and shot generation. It would stand to reason that getting more shots and generating more offense would, in turn, limit the Penguins' chances. If Pittsburgh gets north of 35 shots again, it could spell doom.
  • Keep the crease clear on defense. Columbus seems content to let the Penguins take open shots from the blue line, whether it's an effort to mark up their "stars" down low or simply a function of the Penguins using their speed and puck movement to generate open chances. If Columbus is going to do that, they need to keep bodies and traffic away from Sergei Bobrovsky. Two of the three third period goals came off of deflections in front of point shots, so if the Jackets are going to limit those types of chances, they need to either keep the crease clear or start to cut off some of those shooting lanes at the blue line./

No matter what, let's pack the barn again and drown out the Penguins fans. It was electric on Monday. We the fans cannot let the result Monday night dampen the enthusiasm tonight. Let's tie this thing up!

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(regular season: 43-32-7, 93 Points; 4th division, 7th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Jack Skille
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
R.J. Umberger Artem Anisimov Nick Foligno
Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu Blake Comeau
Jack Johnson David Savard
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Pittsburgh Penguins
(regular season: 51-24-7, 109 Points; 1st Division, 2nd Conference)

Chris Kunitz Sidney Crosby Lee Stempniak
Jussi Jokinen Evgeni Malkin James Neal
Beau Bennett Brandon Sutter Jayson Megna
Tanner Glass Joe Vitale Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik Paul Martin
Rob Scuderi Kris Letang
Olli Maatta Matt Niskanen
Marc-Andre Fleury
Jeff Zatkoff

Series Results

04/16/14 - Columbus 3 at Pittsburgh 4
04/19/14 - Columbus 4 at Pittsburgh 3 (2OT)
04/21/14 - Pittsburgh 4 at Columbus 3
04/23/14 - Pittsburgh at Columbus
04/26/14 - Columbus at Pittsburgh
04/28/14 - Pittsburgh at Columbus*
04/30/14 - Columbus at Pittsburgh*
*if necessary

Head to Head Stats

Pittsburgh Columbus
3.67 GPG 3.33
3.33 GAPG 3.67
38.3 SPG 33.0
.899 SV% .904
17.6% (3-for-17) PP% 21.4% (3-for-14)
78.6% (11-for-14) PK% 82.4% (14-for-17)
four tied, 2 G leader Jack Johnson, 3
Paul Martin, 6 A leader Brandon Dubinsky, 4
Paul Martin, 6 Pts leader Brandon Dubinsky / Jack Johnson, 4
Kris Letang, 8 PIM leader Blake Comeau, 8

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