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Penguins vs Blue Jackets

(Page 2 of 3)
Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Johnson front and center in Blue Jackets' revival

Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 4:25 PM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Defenseman Jack Johnson joined the Columbus Blue Jackets at one of the rock-bottom moments for the franchise, but instead of shying from the challenge of being part of the turnaround, he embraced it.

Monday night, before a frenzied crowd in Nationwide Arena for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was rewarded for his perseverance with the Blue Jackets' first home Stanley Cup Playoff game since 2009.

Although Pittsburgh rallied for a 4-3 win to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series, Johnson said the fans did their part with 60 minutes of non-stop energy.

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Columbus ready to rock as playoff hockey returns

Monday, 04.21.2014 / 1:59 PM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Fans began lining up at 5 a.m. Monday outside Nationwide Arena for the few tickets the Columbus Blue Jackets hold back every game day.

By 10 a.m., a radio station had put up a tent near the ticket office to host programming throughout the day, and inside the home of the Blue Jackets, the red, white and blue bunting had been installed around the arena seating.

Monday is no ordinary day in Blue Jackets history, because the first Stanley Cup Playoff game in nearly five years is coming to Columbus.

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Versatile Bennett providing shot in arm for Penguins

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 2:10 PM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett's second NHL season did not go as planned.

Bennett was expected to play second-line left wing alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal entering training camp. After Jussi Jokinen won the position, Bennett was expected to bring much-needed offensive production to Pittsburgh's bottom six throughout the regular season. After Bennett was sidelined through 61 games with multiple injuries, he was expected to bolster its struggling third line upon return.

The last expectation partially became reality.

The 22-year-old forward began the Stanley Cup Playoffs as Pittsburgh's first-line right wing, but will most likely move to third-line left wing for Game 2 of its Eastern Conference First Round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (7 p.m., ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT) at Consol Energy Center.

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Jackets believe Bobrovsky can conquer playoff stage

Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 1:52 PM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has earned accolades throughout his four years in the NHL. Winning a Stanley Cup Playoff game has not been one of them.

That could change Wednesday when he starts Game 1 of an Eastern Conference First Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC).

Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, appeared in seven playoff games during his first two seasons while with the Philadelphia Flyers. He is 0-2 with a 4.04 goals-against average and .848 save percentage, compared to career regular-season numbers of a 2.46 GAA and .919 save percentage.

His last playoff appearance came against the Penguins on April 18, 2012. He made 13 saves on 18 shots after replacing Ilya Bryzgalov early in the second period of the Flyers' 10-3 loss.

"The biggest thing is, you want to hit your peak in the playoffs. It doesn't matter what we've done in the past," Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski said regarding Bobrovsky. "It's what we do now and going into the future."

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Malkin back at Penguins practice, could play Game 1

Tuesday, 04.15.2014 / 2:10 PM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin returned to practice Tuesday after missing the final 11 games of the regular season.

Malkin sustained a foot injury during his first shift in Pittsburgh's 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on March 23. He had skated on his own prior to practices and game-day skates recently, and participated in Pittsburgh's morning skate Sunday, but Tuesday marked his official return to practice.

He said he felt good during the practice, but stopped short of saying he would play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC). In 11 games without Malkin, the Penguins went 5-4-2 averaging 2.27 goals per game during regulation.

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X-Factor: Wisniewski pacing Blue Jackets' back line

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 2:18 AM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

When the Columbus Blue Jackets signed James Wisniewski to a six-year contract in 2011, the expectations were he would play a significant role in the top defensive pair.

A transformed Wisniewski will enter the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs a much more confident player, making big contributions on the top pair in the wake of his finest offensive season as a professional.

"The biggest thing for me right now is winning," Wisniewski told The Columbus Dispatch. "Yeah, the numbers are there, and it's good to see that. But if I'm playing the right way and producing, I feel like I'll be helping my team win

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Why the Penguins will win the Stanley Cup

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 12:55 AM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

The Pittsburgh Penguins will win the Stanley Cup this year because they lost out on a chance to play for it last season.

The humiliation from a four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Eastern Conference Final hasn’t been forgotten and the pain remains fresh for a team that won three-quarters of its regular-season games in 2012-13 but saw its postseason dreams end in disappointment and recrimination.

Pittsburgh could do nothing right against the Bruins, managing just two goals in the four games, and none from its two superstars: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

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Penguins seeking chemistry from third, fourth lines

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 12:50 AM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are in a familiar position after another successful regular season.

The Penguins enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Eastern Conference's second seed. They only spent one day out of first place in the Metropolitan Division after October, trailing the Washington Capitals by one point on Nov. 18.

Top center Sidney Crosby finished as the NHL's scoring champion, while linemate Chris Kunitz broke his previous career highs of 26 goals and 61 points. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, facing pressure stemming from a lackluster postseason and without a veteran backup after a training-camp injury to Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), enjoyed one of his best regular seasons.

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X-Factor: Penguins' Fleury must silence critics

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 12:35 AM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Marc-Andre Fleury's resume includes a Stanley Cup championship, two appearances in the Stanley Cup Final and close to 300 regular-season wins in more than 500 appearances. For most goalies, a resume like that would be enough to quiet any critics, to silence any doubters heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Marc-Andre Fleury
Goalie - PIT
RECORD: 39-18-5
GAA: 2.37 | SVP: 0.915
Not for Fleury. Not even close.

Fleury's championship ring, 45 wins in 80 postseason appearances, and 288 regular-season victories won't help the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in their Eastern Conference First Round series, which begins Wednesday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC). In fact, if Fleury doesn't play better than he has in recent postseasons, the Penguins may not make it out of the first round.

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Why the Blue Jackets will win the Stanley Cup

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 12:30 AM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Columbus Blue Jackets will need to use that us-against-the-world mentality from the opening faceoff of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

At the start of the season, the Blue Jackets were long shots to make the postseason, but the fact they are now among the remaining 16 teams still standing speaks to the character and never-say-quit attitude needed this time of the year.

That is the attitude which will carry Columbus to its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The fact that so few are giving the Blue Jackets a legitimate shot at making a serious postseason run will be a prime motivator, as will the opportunity to catch opponents looking ahead to the next challenge.

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres