Besides goaltender, center is the most important position in hockey.
That bodes well for the Penguins in their first-round series vs. Columbus.
The Blue Jackets’ four centers, as per their current depth chart, have totaled just 49 goals: Boone Jenner has 18, Alexander Wennberg 13, Brandon Dubinsky 12 and William Karlsson six. Dubinsky has just three goals in his last 25 games, Wennberg one in his last 20.
The Penguins’ four centers have netted 108 times: Sidney Crosby 44, Evgeni Malkin 33, Nick Bonino 18 and Matt Cullen 13. Crosby has 1o goals in his last 14 games, Bonino nine in his last 17.
The center position provides the Pens their biggest edge in the series, especially now that Malkin is back in the lineup. It shouldn’t take Malkin long to knock the rust off, especially with Phil Kessel at RW on his line.