Blue Jackets-Penguins Game 2 pregame notebook

Apr 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson (left) reacts with center Brandon Dubinsky (17) after Johnson scored a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in game one of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Charles LeClaire/Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

Brandon Dubinsky has been given the task of bottling up one of the best players in the NHL for a second game in a row. Containing the Penguins Sidney Crosby is never an easy job. His skill is evident on almost every shift that he takes, whether that’s scoring or creating time and space for one of his teammates.

Dubinsky seems to relish the task he has been handed by head coach Todd Richards. After Game 1 on Wednesday, one could tell that Dubinsky was getting under the skin of Crosby.

"You know," Dubinsky said, "you can only do your best. Obviously, you try and frustrate guys like that. You try and limit their space and time. It’s all about talking to them, being yappy and being chippy, stuff like that. That stuff is going to come with the playoffs.

"But a guy like that is going to get more frustrated with you limiting his scoring opportunities, (limiting) things that he’s usually able to freely get. It’s a tough task and he’s a great player. All I can do is to do my best to try and contain him. You’re never going to completely shut down a guy like that."

An Emerging Star

Columbus forward Ryan Johansen has had a breakout year, putting up a team-high 33 goals and 30 assists for 63 points. He’s ready for the second game in this series, showing a bit of fire in his eyes. Gone are the jitters that accompanied playing in his first playoff game.

"No jitters," he said. "Let’s get it going and let’s go after them (Penguins). The start is, again, huge tonight. It will be big for our club to get the first goal. We just need to keep pounding away at them."

"We’re going to have to play a quicker game in our own zone and then get pucks behind their defensemen as much as we can. Try and play that really predictable game coming up the ice and then just pound away at their defensemen. We need to throw puck at (Marc-Andre) Fleury and see what happens."

He wants to take the series back to the friendly confines of Nationwide Arena tied at 1-1, and believes they have a very good chance of doing just that tonight in Pittsburgh.

"That’s our thoughts right now," he continued. "If we can find a way to squeeze out this one here in Pittsburgh, get a win here, and then go back to Nationwide, it will be unbelievable there. That’s what we all want. That’s our motivation right now, to tie this thing up, head back for Game 3 and really enjoy that at home."

Geographic proximity equals quality rest

The geographic proximity of Columbus and Pittsburgh gives the Blue Jackets time to have a better quality of rest, versus living in a hotel room for a few days at a time.

"Going home (between Game 1 and Game 2) was good for us," said Richards. "We aren’t hanging around a hotel room. We aren’t eating at a restaurant. I think some of it is also getting away from the game.

"I’ll use the word ‘distraction,’ not that family is a distraction. But, it can distract you mentally to get away from the game and spend time with your kids and your family. You’re sleeping in your own bed and you have your own comforts of home. I like that we were able to get home."

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