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Blue Jackets far from satisfied entering Game 4 against Bruins

Locker room sign reminder to avoid complacency even with series lead

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Above the white board in the Columbus Blue Jackets locker room is a sign with white letters on a black background: "GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF GREAT."

It has been there for two seasons and has become as much a fixture as the brick wall leading into the room.

Yet it has more meaning for the Blue Jackets heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

 

[RELATED: Complete Bruins vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]

 

"It's a good reminder," Columbus defenseman Scott Harrington said. "When you have success it's obviously a good thing but by no means do we want to be complacent."

The message, prominently displayed by coach John Tortorella, is to not be satisfied with what has been accomplished so far with the Blue Jackets leading the best-of-7 series 2-1. Tortorella guided the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup and knows Columbus isn't even halfway to the 16 wins needed to become champions.

"There's no mountaintop here," he said. "It's Game 4 of the second round."

Tortorella is trying to balance the buzz created in the city after the Blue Jackets won their first playoff series with a four-game sweep of the Presidents' Trophy-winning Lightning in the opening round with the realization of what's ahead.

Video: BOS@CBJ, Gm3: Bobrovsky robs Bergeron on redirection

"[The players] should feel good about themselves but these games could be going either way," he said. "I think they're smart enough to realize that."

That's where the sign comes into play. It was installed following the 2016-17 season, when Columbus earned a Blue Jackets record 108 points but lost the first round in five games to the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

"Ever since that came in the room two years ago, that hit home for a lot of guys because we had come off our best season, 100 and some points, first-round exit," forward and captain Nick Foligno said. "We were [ticked]. We played the right way but didn't get the result. Then it came in next year and it kind of said to everyone, 'No, we're not going to be satisfied with that. This is what we're trying to attain. This is where we are now but we're more than this.'

"That's been a real good message for everyone in this room."

Video: BOS@CBJ, Gm3: Duchene doubles lead with PPG

The Blue Jackets know the margin between winning and losing is thin; the Bruins hit the post twice and the crossbar once during Columbus' 2-1 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday.

"By no means are we playing perfect hockey," Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones said. "We can clean some things up defensively and continue to get better every day. We're happy about the Game 3 win but we need to keep moving forward and stay focused."

Foligno likes that Game 3 was in the rearview mirror by practice Wednesday.

"We're not satisfied," he said. "You can see it in every guy. It's 'OK, onto the next one. That's great to see out of everybody.'"

It starts with the words on the wall.

"It's one of those things you notice now and then," Foligno said. "Obviously, people come in the room and ask me about it. It's just become ingrained in us.

"The first year you learn it, then you see it. Now it's part of the room. It's funny how that's really been a good mantra for us."

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