Columbus Blue Jackets Playoff Experience Pales in Comparison to Caps

COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 26: Philipp Grubauer
COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 26: Philipp Grubauer /

Tonight will be the Columbus Blue Jackets 16th postseason game in franchise history.

It’s the start of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight for the Columbus Blue Jackets. In their 17 years of NHL hockey this is only their 16th playoff game ever.

In this series for the first time in franchise history, the number of playoff games the Columbus Blue Jackets have played will finally outpace their years of existence. A feat that took the Vegas Golden Knights one season to accomplish.

The Washington Capitals on the other hand are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons. Experience certainly is on the side of the Caps.

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The Columbus Blue Jackets most experienced postseason players were all picked up at the trade deadline in brilliant trades by Jarmo Kekalainen. Thomas Vanek leads the group with 63 games played, followed by Ian Cole who has played 56 total games. 49 of those have come in the last two seasons when he and the Pittsburgh Penguins won back to back Stanley Cups.

To put it in perspective, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have played 97 and 96 postseason games respectively. Thats not to say that the Caps have the advantage in the series due to experience, but you’d rather have been there before that be looking into the bright lights for the first time.

The Columbus Blue Jackets only have one player making his postseason debut. Pierre-Luc Dubois will be front and center, literally, as he centers the top line for the CBJ.

The most important fresh face to the playoffs though will be wearing a Capitals jersey and in goal. Philipp Grubauer will be making only his third playoff appearance ever and second ever start in net tonight.

Next: Grubauer to Start Game 1

The Caps decided to sit Braden Holtby, who has made 59 playoff appearances, and start the German Grubauer who has been playing much better than Holtby in the final month of the regular season.

Experience counts, but for how much? That and much more will be answered tonight as the Jackets start their fourth ever playoff run. The puck will drop just after 7:30 tonight on the USA network.