Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Boston Bruins Game 5 Preview: Winner Likely Takes Series

Our NHL expert picks out the best bets from Saturday’s Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets Play Off clash.

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It goes without saying that when an NHL postseason best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 that the Game 5 winner usually goes on to take the series – nearly 80 percent of the time in Stanley Cup playoff history. The Boston Bruins host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal with the B’s at -137 on the BetStars moneyline and the Jackets at +120. The total is set at 5.5, with the under a -133 favorite on the NHL odds.

Boston is an Original Six team so it obviously has a ton of postseason history. This is the 34th time the franchise has found itself tied 2-2 in a best-of-7. The Bruins have won Game 5 a total of 16 times and then gone on to win the series in 13 of those – 81.2 percent.

We don’t have much history to go on for the Blue Jackets. For one, they are in the conference finals for the first time ever. Second, they have played a Game 5 only three previous times: The Jackets lost Game 5 of the 2014 first round in Pittsburgh and dropped the series in six; they were eliminated from the first round in 2017 with a Game 5 loss in Pittsburgh; and they lost Game 5 in Washington last year on the way to losing the series in six.

Jump on under that total of 5.5 before BetStars perhaps moves it down to 5 – every game in this series has landed right on five goals. No team had scored four goals until Thursday’s Game 2, which the Bruins won 4-1 to improve to 4-1 after a loss in the 2019 playoffs. 

The big difference in Game 5 was Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. They were the team’s three-leading scorers in the regular season but had combined for just one point in the first four games. On Thursday, they totaled five points. Bergeron had two power-play goals, Pastrnak a goal and an assist, and Marchand an assist.

Marchand was lucky he wasn’t suspended for Game 5 after a cheap shot on the Jackets’ Scott Harrington in Game 4. Bergeron, meanwhile, moved to sixth on the Bruins’ all-time playoff list in points (93) and goals (36).

Special teams always are key in any NHL game, even more so in the postseason. Columbus leads this postseason with a power-play percentage of 32.0 and Boston is second at 31.3. In Game 5, the Bruins were 2-for-6 with the man advantage – the first time Columbus had been shorthanded six times, amazingly, since mid-October – and the Blue Jackets 0-for-4.

Columbus looks to avoid back-to-back losses since dropping three in a row from March 16-21. The Blue Jackets need to stop so many shots from getting to Sergei Bobrovsky. The Bruins’ 46 shots in Game 4 were their most in a non-OT playoff game since they had 56 vs. Chicago on April 11, 1975.

The home team has won eight of the past 11 between these teams, and the under is 14-3 in the Blue Jackets’ past 17 road games. Both trends continue: Back Boston on BetStars moneyline and parlay with the under 5.5 goals.

Game 5 Pick

Boston Bruins Money Line @ +120 with BetStars

Under 5.5 Goals @ -133 with BetStars

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