The Columbus Blue Jackets were the ultimate underdog going into the first round of the playoffs. Their lack of playoff experience was contrasted by the seasoned talent in Pittsburgh. While the team did have the reigning Vezina Trophy winner on their side in Sergei Bobrovsky, there’s no question that Pittsburgh has more big name stars on its roster.
That didn’t stop the Blue Jackets from taking two games in this series — the first playoff wins in their franchise’s history — and giving the Penguins trouble almost every time Pittsburgh thought they were finally beat.
The third period of Game 6 tonight was the perfect example of how this series went. The Blue Jackets were against the ropes, they rallied back, and fell short while still giving their fans reason to hope for the future.
“We did everything we could in the third period…we’re a proud group and we’re really disappointed right now,” Brandon Dubinsky said, per the Blue Jackets’ Twitter account.
The sense of pride despite falling short was brought up by other members of the Blue Jackets as they reflected on their campaign.
“I’m sure the fans as well as myself are all proud of the guys in this room,” Ryan Johansen said.
“Have to thank the fans…the support that we got from them says a lot. There’s a real sense of pride,” coach Todd Richards added.
They’ve set the bar higher going forward. Columbus showed they can compete against a team like Pittsburgh, but turning a promising squad into a major contender is a daunting task. Still, that’s the next step for the Blue Jackets.
"We have a rivalry born between the #Pens and Blue Jackets. They gave us everything we could handle." -Bylsma
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 29, 2014