PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- Root Sports Penguins Analyst Jay Caufield joined “The Cook and Poni Show” Tuesday to recap the Pens’ 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 6 to win the first round series and advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Caufield said it wasn’t easy, but it was good to see the Pens get this win and close it out without needing a Game 7.
“It’s almost human reaction to start backing off a bit,” Caufield said of the Pens’ 4-0 lead that was closed to a 4-3 lead in the final minutes. “They learned they can’t do this.”
Caufield said it was only a matter of time before Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby broke through like Malkin did last night with a hat trick.
He also agrees that despite not getting a goal, Sidney Crosby played a great game last night and it might be his chance to break out going into the second round.
“You just have to turn the page on this one quick,” Caufield said.
The Pens will wait to find out who they play next between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers lead the series 3-2 a win tonight would give them the series. A loss would force a Game 7 Wednesday night.
So, who does Caufield think is the better matchup for the Pens?
“It’s careful what you wish for,” Caufield said. “They both are tough draws. The Pens have had the better success against the Rangers, but they are due to beat Philly.”
Caufield says even though both are tough matchups, he feels good about the Pens in either series.
“If Pittsburgh plays their game and the stars are the best players and Fleury is solid, they will be hard to beat,” Caufield said. “You do have to be careful though of a vet goalie like Lundquvist”
Caufield agrees that Fleury played great in this series, despite the way Game 4 ended with the late goal in regulation and the soft goal he gave up in overtime.
“He overcame and got through it,” Caufield said. “It’s moving on for him as well. Sometimes, you need your goalie to be great and sometimes, he just has to be good enough. It was a huge step and each player knows it. It was great for him.”
It wasn’t all great for the Pens, who suffered key injuries to Brandon Sutter and Joe Vitale.
“Sutter could be a devastating blow,” Caufield said. “But, you can put Crosby and Malkin back on their lines and know they carried you all year.”