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Blue Jackets GM likes ‘relaxed-intense’ effort from Game 1

Evgeni Malkin, Derek MacKenzie

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Derek MacKenzie (24) checks Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin (71) during the third period of a first-round NHL playoff hockey game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. The Penguins won 4-3. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


If the Columbus Blue Jackets were supposed to go into the playoffs and be scared of the Pittsburgh Penguins, they did a bad job of showing that.

The Jackets hung tough in Game 1 and even held a 3-1 lead on the Penguins at one point before ultimately falling 4-3. Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen told Kevin Allen of USA Today he was happy with how the team came out in their first playoff game in six seasons.

“We weren’t overwhelmed like can happen with a young team in a playoff atmosphere,” Kekalainen said. “I thought we came out looking very relaxed-intense, if I can call it that.”

Forward Brandon Dubinsky took the lead step for the team to show them how not to be scared of the Penguins’ talent level by agitating Sidney Crosby all game long. Expect to see a lot more of that throughout the series as the two have a bit of a history as Puck Daddy shared.

It’s that brand of playing without fear that Kekalainen likes and the rest of the Blue Jackets have to keep bringing the rest of the way. At the least, maybe they can wear the Penguins out to create turnovers.

Follow @JoeYerdonPHT