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5 Jackets to Watch This Series

by Addison Smith / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins will faceoff the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Here are five players for the Jackets that you'll want to keep an eye on...

1.Ryan Johansen, C

The 21-year-old will be making his Stanley Cup playoffs debut after leading the Columbus Blue Jackets in scoring during the 2013-14 regular season with 63 points (33G-30A). The fourth pick in the 2010 NHL Draft has steadily improved into a goal scorer for the Blue Jackets. In his first two seasons in the league, Johansen had only 14 goals in 107 games played. Johansen became just the third Blue Jackets player to score 30-plus goals (Rick Nash, Geoff Sanderson).

2.Jack Johnson, D

The Blue Jackets premier defenseman plays close to 30 minutes every game and is peaking at the right time. He finished even or plus in 18 of the Blue Jackets’ 23 games since the Olympic break. As a member of the LA Kings, he finished with 12 points (1G-11A) in 12 playoff games in 2010 and 2011. This is his first time in the playoffs since being traded to Columbus on Feb. 23, 2012 in exchange for Jeff Carter.

3.Sergei Bobrovsky, G

Last year’s Vezina trophy winner as the NHL’s best goaltender continued his success this season with a .923 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average. He missed the month of December with a groin injury, but returned Jan. 6 to post 40 saves in a 4-3 shootout win over the Washington Capitals. He also represented his home country of Russia in the Olympics, going 1-0-1 and posting a .952 save percentage as well as a 1.15 goals-against average. Last season, Bobrovsky was the reason the Blue Jackets were in playoff contention for as long as they were and helped them to the postseason this year.

4.Ryan Murray, D

Another young gun for the Blue Jackets, the second-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft has posted 21 points (4G-17A) in 66 games this season. He made his NHL debut this season and will be making his Stanley Cup playoffs debut at only 20 years old. He returned from a shoulder injury on April 4 after missing the entire month of March. The second game back from his return, he scored a goal in Columbus’s 4-0 win over the New York Islanders on April 6.

5.Brandon Dubinsky, C

In his second season with the Blue Jackets, Dubinsky was appointed alternate captain and has 50 points (16G-34A) in 76 games played. No stranger to the playoffs, Dubinsky played in 31 postseason games with the New York Rangers. He has 17 career playoff points (7G-10A), including an eight point (4G-4A) run in 10 games during the 2007-08 playoffs. His most recent outing in the playoffs ended with two points (2A) in nine games during the 2012 playoffs. He has a 12.5 shot percentage in the playoffs, which is 3.5 percentage points higher than his 9.0 shot percentage in the regular season in his career.

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