Opinion: Pens should defeat Blue Jackets


Natalie Zgurich, Staff Writer

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets will face off Wednesday night to kick off the Pens’ first series of the playoffs.

Of course every Pens fan is hoping that the team can repeat as Stanley Cup champions, although that became a much more difficult task with the season-ending injury to star defenseman Kris Letang.

Injuries to Evgeni Malkin, Carl Hagelin, and Chris Kunitz have hurt on offense in the weeks leading up to the playoffs. But both Malkin and Hagelin are skating again, so they should be ready to play soon.

Goaltender Matt Murray set a high standard last year when he took over the show during the playoffs, and he will need to live up to it this year.

Murray has had a strong season, with veteran Marc-Andre Fleury backing him up not only in net but with showing him the ways to be a successful goalie.

The goaltending was not the only reason the Penguins were successful throughout the season. The Pens have had explosive offense, with six- or seven-goal games not unusual this year.

The offense can be mostly attributed to captain Sidney Crosby, whose line with Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel has done a lot of the scoring for the team.

The Blue Jackets are battling through injuries to defenseman Ryan Murray and center Lukas Sedlak. Because of this they have definitely lost some mojo, despite Sergei Bobrovsky’s stellar play lately.

While Columbus likes to play a physical game, the Penguins have speed and skill on their side. The Pens should win this series, and a sweep is not out of the question.