Holtby helps Capitals hold off Blue Jackets, 3-2
Braden Holtby stopped 35 shots, Andre Burakovsky had a goal and an assist and the Washington Capitals held on for a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night. T.J. Oshie and Matt Niskanen also scored for the Capitals, who improved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Washington, with a league-best 112 points, leads Pittsburgh by five points in the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets are another point back in third.Holtby's 41st win of the season also tied him with his Blue Jackets counterpart Sergei Bobrovsky for best in the league.
The Blue Jackets are plenty familiar with the concept, churning through nine coaches and just two playoff appearances since entering the league in 2000. Pittsburgh beat the Blue Jackets in six games in the first round three years ago. The competitiveness of that series (five games were decided
The Blue Jackets strike first early in the game. Former Penguin Scott Harrington gets the puck in the slot with a ton of time and space and he rips a Guentzel always seems to shine against Columbus, especially when you put the playoff numbers in there. He always plays his best and has filled the net
PITTSBURGH — Forget about past history and playoff experience. The Pittsburgh Penguins insist those things won't matter when the puck drops on Wednesday night in Game 1 of their first-round series against Columbus Blue Jackets.
So what if the Penguins have twice as many Stanley Cups (four) as the Blue Jackets have postseason wins (two)? Sure, it looks nice in a trophy case, but those things are designed to celebrate the past. Pittsburgh believes it will also have zero impact on the present when the defending champions take on their upstart Metropolitan Division rivals in a showdown between the teams that finished the regular season with the second- and fourth-best records in the league.
The NHL really needs to fix their Stanley Cup Playoffs format
This week when the NHL Playoffs begin, the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the Eastern Conference will meet in the first round when the Columbus Blue Jackets square off with the Pittsburgh Penguins. This makes no sense. This week when the NHL Playoffs begin, the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the Eastern Conference will meet in the first round when the Columbus Blue Jackets square off with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Pittsburgh Penguins failed to sweep the Columbus Blue Jackets in their first round series, but they get The Pittsburgh Penguins are the reigning Stanley Cup champions. They tried to get their title However, with the Blue Jackets 5-4 win in Tuesday’s Game 4, the Pens will have to wait until
The Blue Jackets ’ forecheck is the one everyone has talked about coming in, but the Penguins ’ might be just as important. Since it’s going to take a bit of work for every Winger Patric Hornqvist and the Penguins begin their playoff quest Wednesday against the Blue Jackets at PPG Paints Arena.
"I think you start fresh," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who led the NHL with 44 goals. "The fact we have a lot of guys coming back, that helps as far as trust and belief but everybody starts from scratch here."
The Blue Jackets are plenty familiar with the concept, churning through nine coaches and just two playoff appearances since entering the league in 2000. They finally have something under John Tortorella that seemed nearly impossible at times earlier in their nondescript history: momentum and swagger.
"There's something building here," forward Scott Hartnell said. "The last couple years were tough, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I believe in everyone here, and I think we have a fighting chance."
With the emphasis on fighting. Where the Penguins focus on speed to race by opponents, Columbus would just as soon mix it up, a study in contrast that could provide the most compelling series during the opening round of the playoffs.
Fleury makes late start, Penguins rush by Blue Jackets 3-1
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 31 shots in a surprise start in place of injured Matt Murray and the Pittsburgh Penguins opened their Stanley Cup title defense with a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. BOX SCORE: PENGUINS 3, BLUE JACKETS 1Murray was scheduled to get the nod in the playoff opener but was a late scratch after suffering a lower-body injury during warm-ups. Fleury withstood an early push by Columbus, and the Penguins responded by pulling away from the untested Blue Jackets.Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh.
Blue Jackets vs. Penguins tickets - 100% guaranteed by FanProtect. Blue - Jackets - Penguins tickets are now available. Come see the Pittsburgh Penguins go through their opponents before they score a magnificent goal.
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson (7) celebrates a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in Game 4. (Photo: Russell After the first three games of the playoff series with Pittsburgh, the Blue Jackets players shed their gear in a room that was nearly silent.
"We've played teams like that in the past," Pittsburgh forward Matt Cullen said. "To me I think that brings out the best of us. Play with a little more physicality in our game, more snarl."
Some things to look for as the Penguins try to become the first team in 19 years to repeat as champions:
Pittsburgh received a boost on Tuesday when All-Star center Evgeni Malkin was cleared to play after missing the final three-plus weeks of the season with an upper-body injury. When healthy and engaged, Malkin and Crosby give the Penguins perhaps the best one-two punch in the NHL.
"Last three weeks have not played, tough to watch team," said Malkin, who finished with 33 goals and 39 assists in 72 games. "Season's over. Forget season. And start playing now."
Columbus rookie defenseman Zach Werenski, who has been out with an injury since a big hit from Alex Ovechkin in a loss to Washington April 2, participated in practice Tuesday and Tortorella said Werenski is "good to go."
Columbus' Zach Werenski gets hit in the face with puck, bleeds all over the ice as Penguins score
Zach Werenski took some serious damage after a Phil Kessel shot hit him in the face.The 19-year-old Werenski tallied his first career postseason goal in the first period of Game 3, firing a gorgeous laser past Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. That goal gave Columbus an early 3-1 lead.
Please read the rules before joining the discussion. Cubs begin title defense against Fowler, Cardinals. Albert Almora Jr., the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft, and veteran Jon Jay take over for Fowler in center, one of a precious few questions for the loaded Cubs heading into their title defense .
The Columbus Blue Jackets have developed a solid regional and Metropolitan Division rivalry with the Pittsburgh Penguins in recent seasons. That could be evident in the style of play when the teams meet for the first time this season Saturday at PPG Paints Arena, but it's the Blue Jackets who come
Tortorella and Penguins coach Mike Sullivan are close friends, with Sullivan considering Tortorella one of his mentors. Sullivan joined Tortorella's staff as an assistant in Tampa Bay and later followed him to Vancouver. Both believe it will be their players - and not their respective tactics - that will decide what happens over the next two weeks.
"This series really isn't about him or I," Sullivan said. "It's about two really good hockey teams."
Pittsburgh beat the Blue Jackets in six games in the first round three years ago. The competitiveness of that series (five games were decided by one goal) appeared to be the start of Columbus' bid to battle the Penguins for regional supremacy. Instead, the Blue Jackets stumbled and missed the postseason entirely each of the last two years, leading to a gap Columbus forward Cam Atkinson likened to "an eternity."
"The majority of us it was our first time in the playoffs, so you could tell there were definitely nerves and we didn't know what to expect," Atkinson said. "We know what to expect now, and we're going to chase this."
Columbus forward Brandon Dubinsky has developed a reputation for trying (and occasionally succeeding) in getting under Crosby's skin.
"I just enjoy trying to beat Pittsburgh. If playing against him, and playing hard against him, is part of it, then I'll do it," Dubinsky said. "I haven't spoken to Torts about what my role is going to be as far as the series goes, but whatever it is I'll do my best with it."
AP Sports Writer Mitch Stacy in Columbus contributed to this report.
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Penguins and Capitals have been here many times before .
Stunning things happen during the Stanley Cup playoffs every year, and 2017 has been no exception. Who foresaw Nashville limiting Chicago’s high-octane offense to three goals in four games?Or the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 finishers in the regular-season standings being jettisoned in Round 1?Or Boston accumulating five delay-of-game minors in its final two games against Ottawa?Not everything, however, is chaotic and unpredictable in the spring.Exhibit A: The Penguins are preparing to face Washington in a best-of-seven series, beginning at 7:38 p.m. Thursday at Verizon Center.