PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins begin their Stanley Cup defense tonight when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs.

The Pens hope to repeat as champs and ROOT Sports analyst Jay Caufield knows winning back-to-back Stanley Cups is one of the hardest things to do in sports. However, he thinks Pittsburgh is in a good position to make another run.

“The year they had with the injuries they went through is pretty phenomenal really. It is such a long season and a grind and to come back and have another follow-up season just second to Washington is just remarkable, so home-ice advantage is what we hope for and here we are,” says Caufield.

Caufield says Columbus is going to have to play hard and aggressive if they are going to be successful. So, the Penguins are anticipating a physical series from the Blue Jackets.

“A key thing tonight is going to be the breakouts for the Penguins’ [defense]. Once they get the puck, they’ve got to get it up quick to the forwards and let them do their work. If there’s any problems, if you’re not breaking out cleanly, it’s going to make it very difficult for the Penguins tonight,” says Caulfield.

Caufield adds that both teams know each other so well, nobody on the ice will be surprised by how the other plays. He thinks the Penguins will beat the Jackets in six games in a “hard fought series.”

Listen to the “KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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