The Columbus Blue Jackets Picked Up A Much-Needed Win Tuesday, But The Confidence Boost Was Much More Vital

By Ed Francis on March 3, 2021 at 10:15 am
Columbus Blue Jackets center Emil Bemstrom (52) moves the puck past Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm (43) during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets had to have that win.

Whether or not it's the start of something remains to be seen, but the Blue Jackets played with tenacity Tuesday night as fans were back at Nationwide Arena for the first time in over a year en route to a 4-1 victory over the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings. 

The win ended a five game losing streak. As time goes on, though, this game could be looked back on not for what it ended, but for what it started: a boost of confidence the Blue Jackets haven't seen since the bubble. 

"It's a step in the right direction," said head coach John Tortorella following the victory. "Everybody got involved as far as moving the puck. That's been our biggest problem, is seeing the plays and moving the plays, almost anticipating the plays so the ice doesn't close down on you."

Watching the Blue Jackets get closed down on has been commonplace this season, whether it be struggling to make routine clears, waiting too long to make an easy decision, or an overall lack of confidence that left the club with few options in the do-or-die moments of recent games. 

"Everybody was involved," said Tortorella. "I got to use the whole bench."

One of those guys was Emil Bemstrom, who picked up his first point of the season on a beautiful pass to Riley Nash, whose goal would eventually be the game-winner. 

"(Bemstrom's) an offensive guy. He's got offensive skills," offered Tortorella. Bemstrom was in his fourth game back with the Blue Jackets, after just over a month as part of Columbus' taxi squad. It was his first point in nine games so far this season.

"I want to be able to trust him away from the puck so I can give him more opportunities and maybe he can help us offensively."

The boost in confidence didn't stop with the young forward, though. The Blue Jackets top defensive pairing on Seth Jones and Zach Werenski combined for a season-high three points. For Werenski, who has been hampered by injuries, his assists on the final two goals of the evening gave him his first multi-point game since the Blue Jackets previous game with fans in the building, on March 1st, 2020. 

"I thought they played off one another very well tonight," said Tortorella. "It just looked familiar, them playing off one another." 

"That's a very important part of how we have found our way the past few years here. They've been the engine of this club. Not only defensively, but our transition game, so that was encouraging to see them both play together."

Ignore the opponent; confidence is a mindset. If the Blue Jackets can build off Tuesday's encouraging signs, they just may have the mindset they need to revive their season.