Some pressure now on the defending champs

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The Columbus Blue Jackets may be trailing the series 3-1, but they’ve owned the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first period.

Last night, for the second straight game, the Jackets jumped out to a two-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes. They went on to win, 5-4.

In Game 3 on Sunday, they held a 3-1 advantage after the first. The difference then was they couldn’t protect it, and the Penguins fought back to take it, 5-4, in overtime.

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Now the series returns to Pittsburgh, where the Pens took Games 1 and 2 despite getting outshot by a combined 28-10 in the first period. If not for Marc-Andre Fleury, the visitors easily could’ve come away with a win or two.

Pittsburgh forward Matt Cullen knows the Pens need a better start in Game 5.

“This is a team, Columbus, that comes out pretty hard,” Cullen said, per the Post-Gazette. “That’s sort of their hallmark. I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job handling that and attempting to dictate that ourselves.”

Granted, the Jackets are still the ones facing elimination, with no margin for error.

But there’s some pressure on the defending champs now. Lose tomorrow at PPG Paints Arena and it’s back to Columbus for Game 6, and wouldn’t that make things interesting.