Anatomy of a Comeback: How the Blue Jackets Kept Their Playoff Hopes Alive With a Dramatic Win Over the Canucks

By Jacob Nitzberg on March 2, 2020 at 1:53 pm
Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (70) is congratulated by center Stefan Matteau (23) after their win against the Vancouver Canucks at Nationwide Arena.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
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It wasn't looking good for the boys in blue.

The Blue Jackets had stumbled their way through most of the first two periods, and after 40 minutes, the Canucks held a 3-1 lead. This was a game that the Blue Jackets could ill-afford to lose if they wanted to stay in the playoff race.

It's not as if they came out ready to play for the third period, either. The Blue Jackets mustered just one shot on goal over the first 10 minutes. 

Then, the most important play of the game occurred: Ryan Murray, in his return from injury, made a fantastic play to stop a 3-on-1 break and keep the Blue Jackets in the game.

After that, they flipped the switch. First it was Riley Nash picking his spot and firing home a short-side shot to make it a one-goal game. The Blue Jackets are 8-0-1 in games when Nash scores a goal.

Next, Murray drew a tripping penalty courtesy of Brandon Sutter. The Blue Jackets headed to the power play with 5:56 remaining: it was a great opportunity to tie the game. 

Enter Zach Werenski. He buried a goal after some excellent puck movement to tie the game and blow the roof off of Nationwide Arena. It was Werenski's 20th (!) of the season. He leads all NHL defensemen in goals by five

The Blue Jackets weren't finished. They had all the momentum in the world, and they fed off it. With roughly 3:30 remaining, Emil Bemstrom carried the puck into the Canucks' zone with authority, blowing by Antoine Roussel. Roussel tripped him, and the Blue Jackets headed back to the power play.

Just drawing the penalty wasn't enough for Bemstrom. After some great passing between Murray and David Savard, Bemstrom ripped a wrister, got a little help from a deflection, and found the back of the net to give the Blue Jackets a 4-3 lead and send Nationwide Arena into pandemonium. It was Bemstrom's fourth goal in his last five games.

Shocked and stunned, the Canucks rallied and threw everything they had at the Blue Jackets, emptying their net and going 6-on-5. But, like he's done so often this season, Gustav Nyquist made a fantastic play on the puck, dangled past defenders, and found the empty net to seal the deal and give the Blue Jackets a famous victory.

With that win, the Blue Jackets created a little bit of breathing room in the standings. While most of the teams around them still have games in hand, this was still a huge win that should give them great confidence going forward. Now, to the annual western Canada road trip where three playoff hopefuls await. 

Thanks to SpecmenceCBJ on YouTube for the videos.

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