Penguins vs. Blue Jackets: 5 Things to Watch For During Game 2

Penguins vs. Blue Jackets: 5 Things to Watch For During Game 2

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One
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The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Wednesday night in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series. If you thought the Penguins were going to easily advance by the Blue Jackets, Game 1 proved you wrong. The Blue Jackets are a serious threat and can equalize the series on Saturday night. Here are five things to watch for during Game 2.

5. A Better Performance from Sergei Bobrovsky

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One
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5. A Better Performance from Sergei Bobrovsky

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One
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Sergei Bobrovsky wasn't even average in Game 1 -- he was flat-out horrible. If the Blue Jackets are going to take four of seven games from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bobrovsky is going to have to play at the elite level that he's capable of playing. Look for him to bounce back in Game 2.

4. An Explosion from Ryan Johansen

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One
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4. An Explosion from Ryan Johansen

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One
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He's only 21 years old and there had to be some nerves heading into his first career playoff game. Now that it's over, Ryan Johansen can shake off the jitters and get back to playing like the Blue Jackets' leading scorer. Jack Johnson was the best player for the Blue Jackets in Game 1, I suspect that it will be Johansen in Game 2.

3. Physicality on the Penguins' Superstars

Ottawa Senators v Pittsburgh Penguins
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3. Physicality on the Penguins' Superstars

Ottawa Senators v Pittsburgh Penguins
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I like the strategy the Blue Jackets have implemented for this series. They are constantly hitting, slashing and chirping the Penguins' superstars and trying to get into their heads and take them out of the game. It worked on Kris Letang in Game 1, and I wouldn't be surprised if Evgeni Malkin took a retaliation penalty in Game 2.

2. Brian Gibbons as an Offensive Threat

Pittsburgh Penguins v Buffalo Sabres
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2. Brian Gibbons as an Offensive Threat

Pittsburgh Penguins v Buffalo Sabres
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I would argue that Brian Gibbons was the forward that stood out the most in Game 1. He showed glimpses of his speed, and he can be very dangerous when he gets the puck in the neutral zone with space. With the Blue Jackets' best players focused on Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Gibbons gets to play against the third and fourth lines. In Game 2, Gibbons could walk out with multiple points.

1. Marc-Andre Fleury's Shakiness Factor

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One
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1. Marc-Andre Fleury's Shakiness Factor

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One
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It's been very well documented how Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled in the last two postseasons, but he actually played quite well in Game 1. He gave up three goals, but he can't be placed at fault for any of them. While Bobrovsky needs to be great for the Blue Jackets to win this series, Fleury just has to be average. He's shown in past years how poorly he can play. Two postseasons ago, he gave up 26 goals in only six games.

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