Johansen has Jackets on the board

"I have the biggest smile on my face coming to the rink every day and knowing that I could be that difference-maker every night and having a little success obviously with a little more pressure with playing at the top of your level," Johansen said.

He admitted he didn't like his effort in Game 1 but was much better in Game 2, scoring his first goal of the playoffs and adding an assist.

It's impossible to have a discussion about Johansen without broadening the conversation to include the rest of Columbus' young core. When the playoffs began, 11 Blue Jackets were playing in their first NHL postseason game. They are the second-youngest of the 16 playoff teams (Tampa is the youngest).

In Game 1, they blew a 3-1 lead and lost 4-3. On Saturday, though, they fell behind the Penguins 3-1 but rallied to tie the game in the third period. Then they won it on Matt Calvert's rebound effort early in the second overtime. It was Calvert's second goal of the game in his second-ever playoff appearance.

"We all get along really well off the ice," Johansen said of him and the 24-year-old Calvert. "Like Calvy's goal last night. We live in the same complex and we're driving home, we really get to enjoy that moment together. Those are things we'll remember for a long time. Share these memories right now and be in the moment, it's pretty cool."

One person who's been both surprised and impressed by the Blue Jackets' play is former NHL player and head coach Rick Tocchet.

"They're playing a simple game and I just think their passion has been so impressive, it's enjoyable to watch that team, how passionate they are," Tocchet told Sunday.

The team reminds him a little of an emerging young Philadelphia team in the mid-1980s, a team that also boasted a group of largely untested youngsters.

Sometimes, Tocchet said, the more the merrier when it comes to inexperience, especially in playoff hockey when the stakes are so high.

"You don't realize the magnitude because you have other guys in the soup with you," he said.

It might not be easier, but it is certainly more comfortable.

"I see the young guys in Columbus being comfortable because there's so many of them," Tocchet said. "The spotlight's shared by six, seven, eight guys, not just one or two guys."

He's right.

There's Ryan Murray on defense, and Calvert, and Johansen's two current linemates Jack Skille and Boone Jenner. Jenner has been a force down the stretch and through the first two postseason games.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...