It wasn't easy and it was rarely pretty, but the Pittsburgh Penguins found a way to subdue the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference First Round.
In a series eerily similar to the first-round last season against the New York Islanders, the Penguins played some run-and-gun hockey with the seventh-seeded Blue Jackets before holding on to a 4-3 victory in Game 6 to win the series, 4-2.
In the games Pittsburgh lost, Game 2 and Game 4, the Penguins allowed the Blue Jackets to erase deficits of two and three goals, respectively. In all, the Penguins allowed 18 goals in the six games, a defensive showing that must be improved as they advance to even stiffer competition.
Yet, despite the tight nature of the games (Pittsburgh finished with three more goals than Columbus), the Penguins did advance and will play the winner of the series between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers, which the Rangers lead 3-2.
Here are five reasons the Penguins are moving on to the second round for the fifth time in the past eight years: