The Columbus Blue Jackets needed that win.
After being shut out in three of the prior six games, the Blue Jackets were a team without offensive confidence. But then came Tuesday night, in which the Blue Jackets shelled the Boston Bruins, one of the hottest club's in the league, with a 7-4 home win.
With just 12 games remaining in the regular season, every game is important. But avoiding going on a losing streak after a frustrating 2-0 road loss to the New York Islanders is even more key, especially when considering how tight the standings are in the Metropolitan Division.
An offensive explosion came out of nowhere at Nationwide Arena, and the Blue Jackets maintained their position in a Wild Card spot heading into Wednesday's games.
Here are your three things:
Let's not bury the lead. Boone Jenner, one day after being held out of a loss against the Islanders due to an illness, was fantastic. He scored his 13th-15th goals of the season (on his only three shots) in his first career hat trick.
The ever-versatile Jenner played 19:09, the most of any Blue Jackets forward, and was featured on the power play and penalty kill. His hard-nosed, straight-forward approach is exactly what the Blue Jackets need to be successful in the remaining games as they march towards a playoff berth.
Werenski Gets Monkey Off His Back
Zach Werenski scored his first goal in 31 (!) games, and added three assists for good measure. Consider that since scoring two goals on New Year's Eve, Werenski had a 0-14-14 slash line in 30 games played. In a team-high 22:58 against the Bruins, his 1-3-4 stood out. Werenski was sensational on both ends of the ice, especially considering that no other defenseman had more than one point (Jones had one assist).
In 70 games this year, Werenski has 40 points, and has been, in many ways, struggling. Most NHL defensemen would kill to struggle like the 21-year-old from Grosse Point, MI.
Let's Talk About That Secondary Scoring
Columbus fans have been waiting not-so-patiently to see newcomers Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel provide an offensive spark. Dzingel tallied his first goal as a member of the Blue Jackets on a tricky bank shot off of Tuukka Rask, then added two assists for his first career three-point game. Duchene scored later off a sublime feed from Dzingel, which pushed the lead to 4-1. The two were excellent all night.
Josh Anderson, who probably deserves his own "thing", was outstanding. He tallied 1-3-4, had a team-high five shots on goal and tied for the second most hits on the team (2). His presence on the forecheck and his speed with the puck were noticeable throughout and continually kept the Bruins on their heels. He's quietly emerged as a top threat for this Blue Jackets club, as he continues to build on his career-high with 23 goals scored.
Huge night for secondary scoring.— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) March 13, 2019
Jenner: 3-03 #CBJ
Bonus: Fourth Thing
Artemi Panarin fought for the second time in his career, squaring off against Charlie McAvoy. I'm not going to use this space to try to convince you that fighting is a virtuous act that should or should not belong in hockey. I'm not going to tell you that fighting will always tilts momentum in the favor of a certain team (the Blue Jackets were up 5-2 when they fought, and went into the locker room leading 5-4).
But I will say this: It's not like Panarin needed the respect, but his teammates will adore him doing that. It's easy for an opponent to throw borderline cheap-shots in a lopsided affair. Good on Panarin for standing up for himself. The Russian is not a big man. He didn't need to do what he did against McAvoy, and I'm sure the Blue Jackets management team isn't thrilled about it. But his teammates certainly are, and for a team in the thick of a playoff push, that takes precedence. Well done, Panarin.
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