Well, that was something.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers combined for 12 goals tonight at Nationwide Arena, and every time it looked like the Blue Jackets were starting to pull away, the Rangers seemed to answer.
Still, after the two previous games saw Columbus fumble away a lead before winning in overtime, the Blue Jackets very nearly coughed up a three-goal lead tonight in the third period. But hey, a win is a win – and a regulation win is even better.
Here are tonight’s three things:
A Pregame Spectable
It's been a while since Rick Nash was met with thunderous applause at Nationwide Arena – and it wasn't quite the way that many fans may have envisioned, but tonight, Columbus officially welcomed Nash back.
Nash, who announced his retirement last week due to concussions, was given a massive ovation and a tribute video. The former franchise cornerstone was arguably the franchise's only bright spot for the better part of a decade, and remains the team's leader in just about every offensive category fathomable.
Simply put, the only way Nash's return could have gone better is if it would have happened back in October and with him fully healthy and in uniform, but since that's not a possibility, tonight's reunion was about as perfect as it could have been.
One thing did go wrong, though, as Blue Jackets anthem singer Leo Welsh forgot to bring his microphone out onto the ice. The Nationwide Arena crowd picked him up, though.
The Blue Jackets' attack was on point tonight, putting up 40 shots on goal and putting seven pucks past Alexandar Georgiev. They did a great job all night of getting the offensive zone and sustaining pressure – and took advantage of some sloppy play by the Rangers.
Just about everyone got in on the scoring tonight, too, with 13 Blue Jackets registering at least one point. Nick Foligno scored twice, Artemi Panarin, Cam Atkinson and Ryan Murray all had multi-point nights, too.
In addition to filling the net, they were also dominant in the dot, winning 69% of tonight's face-offs. Still, it wasn't all great…
The Blue Jackets are in the midst of, by the franchise's standards, one of the best seasons they have ever had, but it still seems like a few nagging issues are holding them back. Those issues turned tonight's game from a dominant performance into a nail-biter.
For one, the defensive coverage was abysmal at times tonight, particularly on the last two Rangers goals. Sergei Bobrovsky didn't have a great night in net tonight once again – as his season continues to be a bit of a roller coaster. But the biggest thing is that the power play – which had been a bit better as of late – went 0-for-5 tonight.
Going 0-for-5 in a game where they otherwise dominated is a special kind of weirdness, but somehow seems right on-brand for this team.
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