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First look: Blue Jackets face familiar foe in Boston

Teams that now meet in Stanley Cup Playoffs met three times down stretch

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

When the Blue Jackets arrive to take on the Boston Bruins on Thursday night in their second-round opener, they will face a team that needs little introduction. 

Through a quirk of the NHL schedule, the Jackets and Bruins played three times in the final month of the season. Each team earned a big win against the other in the three-game series -- Columbus took a 7-4 win March 12 while Boston dealt Columbus its only loss of the past 12 games, a 6-2 final April 2 -- while the middle game went to overtime March 16 before the Bruins captured a 2-1 victory. 

In other words, these teams are pretty familiar with one another, and Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella had high praise for the Bruins after they earned the win late in the season in Nationwide Arena. 

"Other than Tampa," Tortorella said, "I think they're probably the best team in the National Hockey League." 

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After fantastic first round, Bobrovsky ready for next challenge

Columbus goaltender feels good as Jackets await next opponent

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

As Sergei Bobrovsky met with the media in the Blue Jackets locker room Tuesday, he wore a scruffy brown beard that was as thick and long as any he's sported over the past few years as the Columbus goaltender. 

That, of course, is largely because Bobrovsky has had his best postseason as the Blue Jackets goaltender in his fourth go-round as the team's starter. The Russian continued what had been a torrid end to the regular season against the Bolts, allowing eight goals in the four games and posting a .932 save percentage. 

Bobrovsky hasn't been vocal when it comes to whether exorcising previous postseason demons has been at the forefront of his mind -- his comments down the stretch and into the playoffs are that he's been focused only on stopping pucks -- head coach John Tortorella hasn't been afraid to tackle the subject. 

PLAYOFF CENTRAL: Your one-stop location for news, notes, videos, and more

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Playing for each other has pushed Blue Jackets to new heights

Columbus credits mindset, belief, unity for success

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Get John Tortorella in an honest moment late in the Blue Jackets season and you'd likely hear a version of this tale. 

The Columbus head coach knew all season he was in charge of a good team. But just how good would be determined by one factor, the same factor that seems to decide whether any hockey team makes the jump from good to great. 

At some point, his young team would have to answer to each other rather than the coaching staff. It's that bond between players -- when it reaches a point where they aren't afraid to call each other out when it needs to be done, but still an environment where each teammate supports the other as well -- that can create a team that can do great things. 

So midway through Game 3 at Nationwide Arena in the opening series vs. Tampa Bay, Tortorella couldn't help but stand back and smile.

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Fans pack Nationwide Arena to see Blue Jackets scrimmage

More than 5,500 come out to see team practice between playoff rounds

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

As Artemi Panarin walked down the tunnel Monday to the ice in Nationwide Arena, he was greeted by a much different view than a normal morning practice. 

Where there normally would have been a sea of empty blue seats in the downtown building, thousands of fans instead were filling the lower bowl to see the Blue Jackets scrimmage one another.  

And Panarin was ready to go, immediately thrusting his hands in the air to show off his excitement.  

He was greeted by a roar from those in attendance, and what followed was another moment in the love affair between team and city. 

Tweet from @JacketsInsider: Crowd applauds the #CBJ after the scrimmage. 5,200 here to watch the Jackets. pic.twitter.com/8x3hO1BKzY

 

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No matter what happened, the Blue Jackets responded during sweep

Columbus handled adversity, success while beating Tampa Bay

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

When Brayden Point scored a goal late in the second period to tie Game 4 at 3, there had to be some in Nationwide Arena that feared the worst. 

The Blue Jackets had won three games already vs. Tampa Bay in their first-round playoff series and had scoring chance after scoring chance in Game 4, but suddenly, it felt like the Lightning had a little life in a series Columbus had dominated. Had the Blue Jackets let the Presidents' Trophy winner off the mat? 

It took less than a minute for Columbus to answer, of course. Oliver Bjorkstrand's goal 54 seconds later gave the Blue Jackets a lead they wouldn't give up, and the sweep was complete. 

Video: TBL@CBJ, Gm4: Bjorkstrand cleans up rebound in front

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Blue Jackets getting offense from everyone down stretch

Columbus riding wave of scoring to second round of playoffs

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

For about a month, it was the about only question asked of the Columbus Blue Jackets, in part because it was the one thing the team had to answer. 

Each time the media filtered into the team locker room after another disappointing setback, it was the same -- why can't this team, which made a big move by acquiring forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel at the trade deadline, score goals? 

It was their own version of March Madness, but it was driving the Blue Jackets insane.  

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Gavrikov adds depth to Blue Jackets blue line

Russian defenseman excited to arrive in Columbus

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Vladislav Gavrikov needed little introduction when he took to the ice Saturday at Nationwide Arena for the first time with the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

First of all, he's an accomplished player in his own right, having won an Olympic gold medal in the 2018 Winter Games. Second of all, he's been a Blue Jacket since the team drafted him in the sixth round of the 2015 draft. 

Plus, the native of Yaroslavl, Russia, knows his countrymen Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin, so introductions certainly weren't necessary there. 

On the other side of things, Gavrikov is well aware of both what the Blue Jackets have done this postseason as well as his new teammates, as he's been following the team ever since he nearly signed with Columbus two seasons ago.

Video: Gavrikov comments on joining the team

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Blue Jackets invite fans to watch practice Monday at Nationwide

Simulated game at 11 a.m. designed to help team stay sharp

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

By Monday, it will have been six days since Blue Jackets fans have had a chance to see their team finish off a four-game sweep of Tampa Bay for the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoffs series win.

But fans will get a chance to see the team that has captured Columbus' attention Monday morning as the team has announced the team's practice that day will be open to the public and staged on the Nationwide Arena main ice.

The practice will feature a full-team simulated game and begin at 11 a.m. Doors will open at 10:30, and fans must enter through the Front Street plaza entrance. The first 500 fans will receive a free "It's Time" T-shirt.

SAY YOU'RE GOING: RSVP to Open Practice on Monday

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Blue Jackets fans dress for the occasion in Stanley Cup Playoffs

From bathrobes to historic jerseys to lucky pants, Columbus put on for its Jackets

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

If you're looking for someone to credit for the Blue Jackets' sweep of Tampa Bay in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, look no further than David Baker. 

With the Blue Jackets trailing early in Game 1, the president of the Jacket Backers fan club remembered he had left a jersey in his car and decided it was time to put it on. It certainly stood out, as it was a Kevin Stenlund game-worn, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed jersey that the Blue Jackets prospect had donned earlier this year as a member of the Cleveland Monsters. 

Of course, we know what happened next. Columbus raced back to win Game 1 and used the momentum to complete the sweep of the Presidents' Trophy winner. 

Video: It was a historic night at Nationwide Arena

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5 things to know about the Cleveland Monsters' playoff run

Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate begins postseason Friday

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

John Tortorella is laser-focused on what the Blue Jackets need to do to win the Stanley Cup. 

But he's also excited the Columbus organization can win the Calder Cup as well. 

The Cleveland Monsters begin the postseason tonight as their best-of-five playoff series vs. Syracuse starts in upstate New York. The I-90 battle matches the Crunch, the former affiliate of the Jackets and the champion of the North Division this year, against a Monsters team going back to the postseason for the first time since the 2015-16 team won it all. 

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