Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/14/14 at 09:01 AM ET
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins couldn't have asked for a better -- read: easier -- first-round opponent than the Columbus Blue Jackets. Game 1 is Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins went 5-0 against Columbus this season. The Blue Jackets will be playing without one of their top players, big forward Nathan Horton. They have had zero postseason success since joining the NHL in 2000-01. They were swept by Detroit in 2009 in their only playoff appearance.
The Penguins can't lose this series, right?
They will win in five games.
But the pressure is on the Penguins to do a lot more than just beat Columbus. They also need to win the second-round series against Philadelphia or the New York Rangers, then take their chances in the Eastern Conference final, almost certainly against the powerful Boston Bruins. Anything less will be considered a local sporting disaster.
The heat is on everybody to win, but it's especially hot on coach Dan Bylsma, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and captain Sidney Crosby.
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