Welcome back, Adam Boqvist.
After missing seven games with a lower body injury, he returned to the ice for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night, scoring a pivotal goal – his first as a Blue Jacket – at a critical time.
Columbus was reeling in the second period, trailing the Detroit Red Wings, 2-0, before Boone Jenner helped ignite the spark that was felt during the Blue Jackets' first power-play chance. That power play failed to convert, but unleashed four shots and the tide was turning as Jenner's ensuing seventh goal of the season got things started.
Then Boqvist was there on the rebound for his first goal, tying the game at 14:55 of the second period, ultimately helping Columbus to a 5-3 win.
Based on Brad Larsen's desire for what he wanted from Boqvist prior to the game, it seems fair to say the 21-year-old delivered.
On the night, Boqvist finished with the goal (his first point this season), was +1 with two shots on net, blocked a shot, dished out three hits, and had a takeaway. Not a bad performance at all for someone playing his first game since Oct. 23.
The game-winner was scored by Yegor Chinakhov – the first of his NHL career – and it couldn't have happened at a better time.
"It's good to see for that guy," said Boqvist. "He's working hard every day. He has a pretty good shot as well so it's nice to see to get out of the way. When you saw it go in, the fans (were) crazy and I actually went and grabbed the puck so I couldn't celebrate that but hopefully, he's happy for that."
Boqvist's goal was a beauty, following up a Chinakhov shot and tucking the rebound under the bar on the far side (from a tight angle, too).
"I just tried to drive down the (defenseman), center-lane drive and Chinakhov there made a good play on the net, and I just followed up," Boqvist said. "It was nice to get that one out of the way as well, and obviously it feels good to win."
The Blue Jackets have proven to be resilient this season, and Boqvist talked about the confidence the team had to rally for the win.
"(In the first period) Detroit was coming pretty hard, forechecking and stuff," he said. "In the second when we got the power play... we had a lot of chances, and the fans (were) with us and from there, I think we took advantage of it and it was nice to see (Zach Werenski) score there at the end as well. I think we played a good team game overall."
Monday's game was only Boqvist's sixth outing of the season, and it felt good to get back into action and help lift his team.
"Obviously when you're injured it feels like you're not in a team," Boqvist said. "You don't want to be in anyone's way but when you're in there you want to do everything you can to help the team win. It was nice to get it done."
For the Blue Jackets, it was a great time to get one of their off-season additions back into the swing of things. After a tough weekend inside the Metropolitan Division, including consecutive losses to the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, the Blue Jackets definitely wanted to end their four-game home swing right.
The club is 8-5-0 and bookended its four-game homestand with come-from-behind wins over the Colorado Avalanche, 4-2, and of course over the Red Wings, 5-3. They'll now head west to face the 1-13-1 Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.