The Columbus Blue Jackets have their first ever Stanley Cup Playoffs series lead thanks to a 4-3 overtime win at Washington Thursday night. It was a game that had it all: drama, controversy, beautiful goals, incredible defensive efforts and more.
In a game of momentum-shifting plays and moments, there were none more pivotal than these five.
Honorable Mention: Dubois Prevents an Own Goal
Okay, we lied. We actually have six moments because we're going to sneak an honorable mention in here for the fact that it almost led to a disaster.
With five minutes remaining in the game, Washington winger Andre Burakovsky was whistled for tripping, leading to a delayed penalty. With goalie Sergei Bobrovsky on his way to the bench for an extra attacker, Jones turned up ice, was pressured, and dished a drop pass that was headed right into the Blue Jackets empty net.
Rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois saved the day, scooping the puck up a foot from the goal line, preventing an own goal that would have put the Capitals up 4-2.
5. Foligno Erases a Goal
The Capitals were up 2-1 late in the second and were looking to add to it when Washington forward Alex Chiasson fired on Bobrovsky from just outside the crease.
Bobrovsky got a piece of it, but not enough to stop it as the puck fluttered over the sprawling goalie, headed into the net. That's when Jackets captain Nick Foligno, playing in his first game in over two weeks, swatted the puck out of the air, erasing a goal.
Columbus Dispatch photographer Kyle Robertson captured this amazing photo of the play.
— Kyle Robertson (@KRobPhoto) April 13, 2018
Welcome back, Captain.
4. Penalty Kill Regroups to Bleed Out a Major
In the waning minutes of the first period, Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson was handed a major penalty and a game misconduct for hitting Caps defenseman Michal Kempny on the boards.
Anderson's night was over and his teammates were staring down a five-minute penalty kill against one of the league's most lethal power play units.
Thirty seconds in, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored to put Washington up 1-0. A half minute later, Kuznetsov lit the lamp again to make it a 2-0 game. The Blue Jackets were in a hole and had four more minutes to kill.
Despite the one-two punch, they responded, killing 98 seconds of the power play to close the period. The unit picked up where it left off in the second, shutting the Capitals down and riding out the remaining two minutes of the penalty.
It was at that point in the game that the momentum started to shift a little.
3. Jenner and Wennberg Put the Jackets on the Board
Anderson's major was finally in the rearview, but the Blue Jackets had spent nine minutes of the opening period down a man and were in a 2-0 hole. Columbus needed offense.
They'd get it from Boone Jenner and Alexander Wennberg.
With five minutes to play in the second, Jenner scooped up a lucky bounce off of Thomas Vanek's stick at center ice, raced into Washington's zone and hit the breaks. Looking up, he found Wennberg crashing the backdoor and fed a perfect pass to put the Blue Jackets on the board.
— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) April 13, 2018
The goal, Wennberg's first ever in the playoffs, was huge. Columbus had firmly seized momentum and carried that into the second intermission, down just 2-1.
2. Seth Jones' Third Period Equalizer
The Blue Jackets had stormed back to make it a game.
With five minutes remaining, Columbus, down 3-2, earned a critical power play.
Thirty seconds into the advantage, a string of incredible plays from Cam Atkinson, Artemi Panarin and Jones – arguably the hottest Blue Jackets to close the season – led to a goal that would send the game into overtime.
It started when Atkinson went low to thwart a clearing attempt by the Capitals. He then found Panarin across ice, who dangled until Jones broke open in the slot, giving him the time and space to roof the equalizer.
It was the cherry on one hell of a game from Jones, who led the Blue Jackets with 30:59 of ice time and looked like the best player on the ice Thursday night.
1. Artemi Panarin's Overtime Game Winner
Having forced overtime, there was only one thing left to do. Panarin took care of that six minutes in with one of the prettiest goals you will ever see.
We're still trying to figure out how he got that shot off so quickly.