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Jackets, Penguins both feel the heat

/Image courtesy Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Blue Jackets are hoping they have more moments to remember in this year’s foray into the Stanley Cup playoffs than they had the last time.

In 2008-09, they took on the Detroit Red Wings. Four games and eight days later, it was all over.

The Blue Jackets open a first-round matchup at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. They’re pleased to be in the postseason, but also aware that just getting in isn’t going to cut it anymore.

The best-of-seven series moves to Nationwide Arena on Monday.

The Penguins have three Stanley Cups, superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and another half dozen of the best players in the game. The Blue Jackets are one of the NHL’s youngest teams, relatively free of name players and eager to show they belong in the sport’s brightest spotlight.

The Metropolitan Division champions have had the CBJ’s number this season, winning all five meetings between the two clubs by a combined score of 16-8.

Despite a rash of injuries that included significant absences by stars such as Malkin, Kris Letang and Paul Martin, Pittsburgh posted the second-highest point total in franchise history and won the division easily.

While coach Dan Bylsma credited his team for finding a way to win with a constantly evolving lineup, he understands this season will be judged by what happens in the playoffs.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series

Game 1 – Wednesday April 16 at Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday April 19 at Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday April 21 at Columbus 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday April 23 at Columbus 7 p.m.

If necessary:
*Game 5 Saturday April 26 at Pittsburgh TBD
*Game 6 Monday April 28 at Columbus TBD
*Game 7 Wednesday April 30 at Pittsburgh TBD

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