In a cruel twist of the NHL's divisional playoff format, say goodbye to one of the three best teams in the league in the first round. ''I don't think it was designed for this,'' Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. The Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Blue Jackets could finish 1-2-3 in points, but because they all play in the Metropolitan Division, the second- and third-place teams will face off in the first round.
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.) On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle. William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up. Hnnngmgghh indeed. That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.
The million-dollar question would surround Neely, whom the Jacobs obviously love. If those guys impress at or near the level of fellow Sweeney pick Brandon Carlo, Sweeneys plan can be considered the work in progress that many suspect it to be. Say the Bruins go .500 (4-4-1) the rest of the way.