Most nights, Seth Jones is a man amongst boys.
Tonight, he was that and much more. In a 3-2 double overtime victory over the Boston Bruins, Jones delivered a world-class performance that defined his importance to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
And, in turn, he may have announced his arrival to the hockey world at large.
For starters, he racked up nearly 40 minutes of ice time. In fact, his exact time of 38:01 was a career high for Jones and he led all skaters on either team, and it wasn't even close (Zach Werenski was next with 33:33).
Jones added two assists along with five hits and three blocked shots. Throughout the night, he continually gave no room for Boston forwards to work with, made simple plays to escape trouble, and was a nonstop presence at keeping pucks inside his team's offensive zone.
Overall, when Jones was on the ice, the team just had a better chance at winning the game. He held 61.11% of general scoring chances when in play, and 66.67 of high-danger chances.
While he didn't record an assist on the game-winning overtime goal by Matt Duchene, he had two crucial keep-ins as bouncing pucks were rimmed around the wall. As for the primary assists he had on the other two goals: Gorgeous.
A quick one-time pass to Artemi Panarin got the scoring going, and when Boston took the lead again, Jones went back to work.
On a play where Jones found himself with the puck after a Bruins' turnover, he could've tried to whip a shot on net. Instead, he showed incredible patience by looking off a Boston player and finding Panarin down low, who went top-shelf.
Jones has been in the Norris Trophy conversation for a few years now, but thanks to this current postseason performance by the Blue Jackets' alternate captain, the fruits of his labor are starting to get noticed.
Seth Jones might be the best defenseman in the NHL. Checks every box. Strong both ways, physical, composed, shot, power play QB, size, skating, responsible. A tower for Columbus.— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) April 28, 2019
Seth Jones played 38:01 tonight. Two assists. Five hits. Three blocks. Terrific play to keep the puck in leading to Matt Duchene's winning PPG. Excellent defense. Pucks in. Pucks out. Battles won. Monster night from Jones.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) April 28, 2019
Head coach John Tortorella, whose opinion likely matters most of all, shared his pleasure as well with Jones' dominating outing:
“He’s our engine as far as the tempo we play with," said Tortorella after the 3-2 overtime victory on Saturday night. "He puts up numbers offensively but I think something that goes unnoticed is how consistently he is defending and making big plays at key times defensively.”
As the Blue Jackets continue to find success in this postseason, the most they've ever had as a franchise, Jones is one of their key players. As he goes, they go, and he's shown thus far that he can handle the increased workload.
Did we mention he's still only 24 years old?