Evgeni Malkin, Derek MacKenzie

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


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.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.