Blue Jackets' Werenski out for playoffs with face fracture

Rufina Vignone
Aprile 20, 2017

He'll walk away from his rookie campaign with 11 goals and 47 points in 78 regular season games, good for sixth in scoring on the team and first among blue liners.

Unless you were sitting with your face pressed against the TV, you probably missed how the Penguins finished off the Columbus Blue Jackets to take a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

The Blue Jackets have benefitted greatly from his services this year, and losing him is arguably one of the biggest blows they could suffer in the postseason. The Penguins' attack was relentless, never more so than in Game 3, when they turned a 3-1 deficit after one period into a backbreaking 5-4 win.

If they advance, their projected second-round opponent, the Washington Capitals, are getting everything they can handle from the Toronto Maple Leafs, splitting overtime games at home in a series that resumes tonight north of the border.

Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, staying healthy might be the most important part of this next game.

Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert, who scored the team's only goal in Game 1, was suspended after breaking his stick over Penguin's forward Jake Guentzel's back late in Game 2. Even if they can squeeze out a win at home, Werenski's loss, coupled with a 3-1 deficit heading back to Pittsburgh, is an nearly impossible feat. "But we got through it". While Pittsburgh's bottom-six has had rough stretches, it's hard to stop the one-two-three line punch of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel. Even though they got run under again early on, they showed that they can turn up the heat on Columbus and make things miserable for prolonged stretches of time. That kept the score at 3-1 and allowed the Penguins to eventually launch their comeback. "They earned the win, and we didn't have the desperation that we needed to win the game". Kyle Quincey took a stupid penalty up 3-0 and the Penguins' subsequent power-play goal almost turned the tide dramatically enough to actually shift the final outcome of the game. The best goaltender in the regular season, Bobrovsky has been ordinary at best in the first three games of a series against the defending Stanley Cup champions. While the Blue Jackets offense finally got going in Game 3, Bobrovsky - and the defense's play around him - will need to step up to avoid a sweep. Scott Hartnell and Scott Harrington are also out. He replaced veteran Scott Hartnell, who was a healthy scratch.

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