Remember who you are, believe in yourself and believe in your concept.
Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella had those words to say this morning, not wanting his team to forget who they are as they once again look to stave off elimination.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight in Game 5 with a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 7:00 PM ET.
The Blue Jackets head into Game 5 coming off their first playoff victory and avoiding a sweep at Nationwide Arena in Game 4.
The CBJ have put less of an onus on the physicality of their game. It’s resulted in their first playoff victory of 2017 and forcing tonight’s game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
John Tortorella confirmed the lineup for Columbus will be the same one that went onto the ice in Game 4. Not only was the lineup more effective, but Torts also mentioned it was nice to have some “fresh legs” on the ice, a little advantage that could go a long way, especially if the Jackets end up heading back home for a Game 6.
Pens Head Coach Mike Sullivan had some foreshadowing words for what he expects from his team tonight in the post-game press conference after Game 4:
I know we’re better and I know we will be better.
The Blue Jackets are a team that’s played with a business-like approach all year long. It’s intriguing now, seeing Torts look a little more laid back in his pressers and opposing coach Mike Sullivan having a little more of a stern demeanor. Much of that, however, from Tortorella, is likely due to his team losing the first three games of the series.
The CBJ locked down defensively in Game 4 and took advantage of timely opportunities, creating some quality scoring chances with the team’s speed in transition when the puck was in their possession.
Pittsburgh will be heavily favored to win tonight, but the Columbus Blue Jackets are loose and once again playing for their playoff lives. Can the Jackets carry momentum onto the road and suddenly put the defending Stanley Cup Champions on edge? Or will the surprise team of the National Hockey League see their postseason come to an end? We’ll find out tonight.