Matt McCoy's Sports Blog

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The 5th Line Shows Up

The Fifth Line showed up Monday...and then some. The Blue Jackets, who finished off Tampa Bay in a stunning four game sweep one week ago, drew more than 5,500 fans to their open scrimmage Monday morning in Nationwide Arena.

"It's great for our guys to see the support," coach John Tortorella said. "It's great for the city. I'm excited to be part of a city that's so behind us here and I hope we perform well for them."

The Blue Jackets are about to finally find out who they'll face in round two. Boston hosts Toronto in game 7 of that series Tuesday night. The winner gets the CBJ in a series likely to start Thursday or Friday. In the meantime the Jackets continue to practice, hoping to stay sharp during a long layoff.

"I wanted them to play some five-on-five, I wanted them to look at some situations five-on-five, making plays five-on-five and defending five-on-five," Tortorella said of the Monday scrimmage. "A coach always wants more and always wants more game situations and I think we got as close to it as we could."

The large fan turnout helped create the game-like situation. Fans lined up outside Nationwide Arena more than an hour before the doors opened. The Jackets had 500 "It's Time" playoff T-shirts to give away and they were gone quickly.

"I didn't really know what to expect and then I saw the people lining up before practice, so I thought "it's going to be a lot (of fans)," center Pierre-Luc Dubois said. "They didn't disappoint. There were a lot of them, they were really loud and it was a lot of fun."

Forward Ryan Dzingel knows all about the passion of the Columbus sports fan. The Ohio State product saw it up close and personal during his days as a Buckeye and is hoping the Jackets reward the fans the way Ohio State football has through the years.

"The city likes winners and they've been spoiled by the football team a lot and we're trying to give them another winner," Dzingel said. "It's plain and simple. We're trying to get it done for this city, for us, for everyone in this locker room and for everyone involved with this organization. It would be awesome to get it done."

When the Monday scrimmage was over, the Jackets saluted the fans with a skate around the arena. The Jackets are hoping to have more of those skates, after playoff series victories, down the road. Here's more scenes from the scrimmage as well as coach John Tortorella's entertaining comments.

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