ShareThis Page

Rossi: Stars are born when a series becomes best-of-three

| Friday, April 25, 2014, 8:15 p.m.

By the fifth game, a Stanley Cup playoff series already has taken many turns. This one between the Penguins and Blue Jackets has few rivals. It is the first in NHL history to feature blown multiple-goal leads, and these players seem poised to play a big role.

Boone Jenner

If the Penguins are not already sick of him — they should be — they probably do not fancy the prospect of facing Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner five times again next season.

Yeah, that should be fun given the confidence this postseason will give Jenner no matter the outcome of Round 1.

He is only 20, and there is room to add onto that 6-foot-2/208-pound frame. Already, though, Jenner looks built for playoff hockey. Against the Penguins, he has made a habit of working his way to the front of the net — and basically moving only after the whistle.

He has scored two goals and delivered 20 hits, and he has proven a willing and successful agitator. Jenner fills a role, does the dirty work and brings a spark. He plays with an edge.

He does for the Blue Jackets what Max Talbot once did for the Penguins.

Big goals in tight series usually go to guys who are known within their respective markets, not on the national stage.

They go to guys who seem predestined for a magical playoff moment. They go to guys who get it.

Jenner seems like that kind of guy. At the very least, so far, he seems like the kind of guy for whom the Penguins might not have a solution. Jenner is going to the net. He's made that clear.

He might not score the Blue Jackets' next big goal, but he is a good bet to be the reason goalie Marc-Andre Fleury cannot see the shot that puts the Penguins in a big series hole.

Brandon Sutter

Life works in funny ways.

Almost two months ago, Brandon Sutter was viewed as replaceable by Penguins management. GM Ray Shero sought a third-line upgrade before the trade deadline and even acquired Marcel Goc just in case.

Shero never made one of his patented big deadline deals. Goc was injured. Sutter suddenly finds himself as the most productive playoff center for a club that has Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

A series-clincher would seem fitting, if not fated.

Jack Johnson

One of Sidney Crosby's best friends might just ruin Crosby's MVP season.

Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson has owned Round 1 — and given the Penguins apparent inability to mark him, he is as likely a candidate as any to bring an end to their season.

He has done it offensively with three goals and defensively with 18 blocked shots, and his presence has been unmistakable. Johnson oozes confidence, and it's rubbing off on his upstart club.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.