Game 5 Preview: Blue Jackets Look To Take Series Lead in Boston

By Jacob Nitzberg on May 4, 2019 at 7:13 am
Apr 27, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand (28) shoots the puck while Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (47) defends during the first period in game two of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

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Folks, it's a big one tonight.

In case you're still pinching yourself, the Blue Jackets are in fact playing meaningful hockey in May. It's time for Game 5 of the heavily-contested series with the Boston Bruins.

The Blue Jackets gained home ice advantage with a Game 2 win in Boston — but gave it right back, dropping Game 4 on Thursday night in Columbus.

It is now a best-of-3, with Games 5 and 7 (if necessary) to take place in Boston, and Game 6 at Nationwide Arena. 

CBJ 2, BOS 2 • EASTERN CONF SEMIS
Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS
49–24–9 // 107 points
ROSTER / SCHEDULE

7:15 P.M. – SATURDAY, MAY 4
TD GARDEN
BOSTON, MA

NBC SN
NBC STREAM
 

There's been almost no separation between the Bruins and the Blue Jackets thus far, as both teams are evenly matched. Games have been won on the basis of good goaltending, and there's a good chance that Tuukka Rask and Sergei Bobrovsky will continue to turn in excellent performances.

Therefore, the pressure will be on the Blue Jackets' forwards to get the puck in the back of the net, which was a massive struggle in Game 4. The chances are there, but the finishing needs to be there as well.

Special teams will be a big emphasis in Game 5, after the shambolic showing on Thursday from both special team units on Columbus. The Blue Jackets registered 22 penalty minutes, 6 penalties, and went 0-4 on the power play. That's, well, not the recipe to winning hockey games this time of year — or any time of year, for that matter.

“Too many penalties, obviously,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said after the Game 4 loss. “We don’t give ourselves a chance with that. I thought we had a lot of good minutes in the game and really liked what we looked like going into that third period.”

Another thing to keep an eye on will be the lineup choices of Tortorella, particularly in terms of the forwards he puts on the ice.

Ryan Dzingel played just 5:15 in Game 4. His linemates, Alexandre Texier and Alexander Wennberg, played just 7:25 and 8:15, respectively. Due to Riley Nash's day-to-day status, Texier drew back into the lineup after being a scratch for Game 3. However, it's clear that Tortorella did not feel comfortable putting any of these three forwards out on the ice in Game 4. Nash's status will be worth monitoring.

Series Tied, 2–2
Game Date Result
ONE THURS, APRIL 25, 2019 BOS 3, CBJ 2 (OT) // GAME HIGHLIGHTS
TWO SAT, APRIL 27, 2019 CBJ 3, BOS 2 (2OT) // GAME HIGHLIGHTS
THREE TUES, APRIL 30, 2019 CBJ 2, BOS 1 // GAME HIGHLIGHTS
FOUR THURS, MAY 2, 2019 BOS 4, CBJ 1 // GAME HIGHLIGHTS
FIVE SAT, MAY 4, 2019 • 7:15 p.m. TBD
SIX MON, MAY 6, 2019 • 7 p.m. TBD

With a win tonight, the Blue Jackets would have the chance to eliminate Boston in Game 6 at Nationwide Arena.

“We just have to stick to our game plan. Stick to how we know how to play, which is physical and straight-ahead,” defenseman Seth Jones said.

With a loss, the Blue Jackets will have their backs against the wall, and will have to try to scratch and claw their way to a Game 7. 

This is playoff hockey, folks.

There's nothing better.

Columbus Blue Jackets Projected Lines

LW C RW LD RD
9 ARTEMI PANARIN 18 PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS 28 OLIVER BJORKSTRAND 8 ZACH WERENSKI 3 SETH JONES
71 NICK FOLIGNO 95 MATT DUCHENE 13 CAM ATKINSON 14 DEAN KUKAN 58 DAVID SAVARD
42 ALEXANDRE TEXIER 10 ALEXANDER WENNBERG 19 RYAN DZINGEL 4 SCOTT HARRINGTON 6 ADAM CLENDENING
17 BRANDON DUBINSKY 38 BOONE JENNER 77 JOSH ANDERSON  
Goalie Backup
72 SERGEI BOBROVSKY 70 JOONAS KORPISALO

Boston Bruins Projected Lines

LW C RW LD RD
63 BRAD MARCHAND 37 PATRICE BERGERON 88 DAVID PASTRNAK 33 ZDENO CHARA 73 CHARLIE MCAVOY
74 JAKE DEBRUSK 46 DAVID KREJCI 42 DAVID BACKES 47 TOREY KRUG 25 BRANDON CARLO
90 MARCUS JOHANSSON 13 CHARLIE COYLE 43 DANTON HEINEN 48 MATT GRZELCYK 75 CONNOR CLIFTON
20 JOAKIM NORDSTROM 52 SEAN KURALY 55 NOEL ACCIARI  
Goalie Backup
40 TUUKKA RASK 41 JAROSLAV HALAK

Game 5 Storylines

  • Stay Disciplined: Columbus has to take less penalties. It's easier said than done, but the Blue Jackets took six penalties for a total of 22 penalty minutes in Game 4. Giving a team like the Bruins that many chances on the power play, as well as limiting their own momentum, will not serve them well in their quest for the next round.
  • Finish Chances: It's not easy to beat Tuukka Rask when he's on his game, but the Blue Jackets simply have to do it. They have not had issues generating chances, but the puck needs to find the back of the net tonight or the Blue Jackets will be staring down a do-or-die Game 6.
  • Match the Physicality: There's no doubt that the Bruins will come out fast and strong. The Blue Jackets can't back down, and have to go at the Bruins from the opening whistle. There will be big hits and aggressive forechecks, and Columbus must be ready.
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