The Pittsburgh Penguins host the Columbus Blue Jackets in a best-of-seven as the 2017 NHL Playoffs start up on Wednesday night. The home team has been a little streaky as of late, losing four at the end of March and responding with four straight victories after that, including a 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets. As for Columbus, they fell in six straight contests before winning the regular season finale over Toronto. The Penguins have won four of the last six meetings against the Blue Jackets. Puck drop is set for 7:30 PM Eastern time and the game can be seen on USA Network.

Blue Jackets (3rd Metropolitan, 50-24-8 overall, 22-12-7 away, 41-41 ATS)

As the calendar year turned, Columbus saw themselves at the top of the league and nearly broke the record for consecutive wins with 16 (32 points). It's been a tougher road since then, and the Blue Jackets finally ended a lengthy losing streak with a 3-2 win over Toronto in the regular season finale. All five goals in the contest were scored in the second period. Toronto opened up with two goals, but Columbus responded with three goals in two minutes. Matt Calvert scored the first goal and also added an assist on the game-winner by Cam Atkinson.

Defender Zach Werenski (47 pts) is probable after recovering from a shoulder injury.

He last appeared on April 2nd against Washington and most recently registered a point against Toronto on March 22nd.

Penguins (2nd Metropolitan, 50-21-11 overall, 31-6-4 home, 38-44 ATS)

Pittsburgh slightly faltered with two losses late in the regular season, but with things wrapped up for them in the postseason, it's hard to fault them.

They lost on the road to the Rangers 3-2. Nick Bonino got the first score for the Penguins, but that quickly was distinguished with New York getting two more goal sin the period. Carter Rowney scored the equalizer at the 13:38 mark in the second period, but the Rangers scored later in the third period to get the victory.

The Penguins had 12 shots on goal in the first period, but only had 12 more for the rest of the contest.

Center Evgeni Malkin (72 pts) is expected to play as he recovers from a shoulder injury. He hasn't played since March 15th against the Flyers. Defender Chad Ruhwedel (10 pts) is doubtful for the game with an upper-body injury.

Betting on the Blue Jackets and Penguins

Pittsburgh is a -155 favorite on the moneyline at home with Columbus listed at +130. Goal total is set at 5.5. The home team is 4-0 in the last four meetings of this matchup.

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