Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson has provided an offensive spark for the Blue Jackets in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson is in no way considered a goal scorer, as he tallied only five while playing in all 82 regular-season games this year.
However, that was the regular season. In the postseason, Johnson is leading the Blue Jackets with three goals, as he has tallied a score in each of the Blue Jackets' first three games in their best-of-seven series with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"I've kind of been in the right place at the right time," Johnson said after Tuesday's practice. "I don't think I'd label myself as a goal scorer, but it's just being in the right place at the right time with a little bit of luck. Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than good."
Although Johnson admitted that scoring goals is not normally his forte, he did express his penchant for being involved in the action.
"I definitely like jumping into the play," Johnson said. "A lot of it is people have been leaving me wide open. Usually, I don't get left that wide open. In all of them, I haven't had a Pittsburgh guy around me coming in, which was pretty nice. Usually, teams are very, very aware of where the other team's (defensemen) are so they can't jump in."
In addition to his goal scoring, Johnson has assisted on two other Blue Jackets tallies, and is plus-one, meaning Columbus has outscored Pittsburgh by a goal when he has been on the ice.
"Jack has been very good down the stretch," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "He's been very good these first three games. He plays like a man out on the ice. He's skating. He can log the big minutes.
"He played close to 40 minutes in the overtime game in game two, and they're big minutes. They're tough minutes against tough opposition. He's playing against (Pittsburgh centers Sydney) Crosby or (Evgeni) Malkin most of the night. On penalty kill, he's one of the first guys over the boards and plays power play, so every situation."
Along with a first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Johnson came to the Blue Jackets in the middle of the 2011-2012 regular season in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings for forward Jeff Carter.
Carter was unhappy about being traded from Philadelphia to Columbus and vehemently wanted out of town, which was in stark contrast to how Johnson felt when he moved to central Ohio. Despite leaving a team that eventually won the Stanley Cup, Johnson embraced the opportunity to be part of a turnaround in Columbus, something that never went unnoticed.
"He's a real important piece for our team, not only what he brings out on the ice, how he plays and he's able to handle big, strong guys, also, guys that can skate, but I think he's got a lot of respect in the room from his peers," Richards said. "He's a guy that takes care of himself. He's in the weight room. He's doing the right things. He's been a real key guy for us down the stretch."