Embed from Getty Images Having surprised the Tampa Bay Lightning in four games, the Columbus Blue Jackets sat, skated and practiced while waiting for their next opponent. The Blue Jackets are well rested and have healed up for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs round 2.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will begin their quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup Thursday in Boston. A place that has not always been kind to Columbus. That does not matter now, in the playoffs everything is out the window.
What to look for, Boston is an older team who plays physical. They are nowhere as fast as the young Blue Jackets. Boston likes to get scoring from the sides unlike the Tampa Bay Lightning who likes to work the puck down low for shots.
The Blue Jackets need to enter this series with a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset. The Blue Jackets have one of the best defensive units in the NHL, it gets better added to the roster is Vladislav Gavrikov, a Russian defensemen the Blue Jackets drafted in 2015. Gavrikov elected to play in the KHL and not the AHL. Given the tougher league the Jackets were happy to allow him to play there.
Why is Vladislav Gavriko in Columbus? His KHL contract was up, at 23 years old he has fully developed and projects as a top line defensemen. In short this means the Columbus Blue Jackets will have a shutdown top line defensive player most likely on the third line. Breaking news, that is excellent for the Blue Jackets.
Columbus, needs to keep their sticks on the ice and take away passing lanes just as they did against the Lightning. They need to use their team speed to frustrate Boston, while staying out of the penalty box. If they do, this could be another quick series for the more talented Blue Jackets.
Stanley Cup Playoff hockey, there is nothing like it. Turne in Thursday night for game 1.