Blue Jackets notebook: Columbus wants another crack at playing with lead
COLUMBUS — Twice bitten, the Columbus Blue Jackets wouldn't mind another crack at playing with a two-goal lead when they face the Penguins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup first-round series Wednesday at Nationwide Arena.
The Penguins fell behind 3-1 in Games 1 and 3 but rallied for 4-3 wins each time. Game 2 was the reverse. Columbus overcame a 3-1 deficit and emerged with a 4-3 double overtime win.
“I'll tell you, I'd take a 3-1 lead in the next game for sure,” Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said. “Having a lead at any point in a hockey game is what you want. It's the ideal situation. We're hoping to have a 3-1 lead in the next game.”
On Monday, the Penguins twice came back from two-goal deficits after allowing a pair of goals in the opening 3:18 of the game.
But a Brooks Orpik goal with two seconds left in the middle period pulled the Penguins to within 2-1. Despite a Cam Atkinson goal early in the third period to regain the two-goal margin for Columbus, the Penguins struck for goals by Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen 2:13 apart to leave the Blue Jackets wondering how the game got away.
“You're going to get a push from the opposition, and this is a pretty good opposition that we're playing against, a pretty talented group,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. “So they're going to make it challenging on you. Maybe slowing it down and more whistles, if you can. We just have to find a way.”
Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski was asked if his team being so youthful and playoff inexperienced can be blamed for losing leads.
“You could probably argue that right now because we're a young team and haven't closed a game out” he said. “At the same time, it's sometimes realizing to keep your foot on the gas. Sometimes when you play that prevent defense it prevents you from winning hockey games.”
Columbus center Atkinson said Game 3, the first in Columbus, was similar to Game 1 because both presented new experiences for the majority of the players. The Blue Jackets had not been in the playoffs since 2009, and only three players remain from that team. Columbus had 11 players make their Stanley Cup debuts in Game 1.
“It was our first opportunity for us in Pittsburgh, and maybe we weren't really used to that feeling” he said. “It was sort of the same way (Monday). It was our first experience playing at home.
“We weren't really sure how the building was going to turn out. Obviously it was great. It was unbelievable. Now we know what to expect coming into Game 4.”
Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu was pleased that the majority of fans in Nationwide Arena were rooting for the home team. That's not usually the case against the Penguins.
“The expectations for us when they come here in the regular season is pretty split, really 50-50,” the former Penguins said. “So when they came out on the ice and had some boos, it was pleasant. It was nice to know it was a true home ice for us.
“A lot of people have been waiting a long time and have been patient with this organization and to finally get the chance to flex their muscles as a hockey city and prove that Columbus is worthy of that title. You could tell (Monday) with the noise, it was a celebration for them.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp
- Penguins GM insists new coach Johnston was no afterthought
- Penguins alumni rally to help Mitch Wilson, who is fighting ALS
- Penguins goalie Fleury likely to enter season without new contract