Sound Bites: Riley Nash on Finally Scoring Again, and the Identity of the Fourth Line

By Jacob Nitzberg on March 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Mar 28, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi (13) and Columbus Blue Jackets center Riley Nash (20) battle for the puck during the third period at Nationwide Arena.
Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

Riley Nash hadn't scored a goal since Nov. 29 – nearly 50 games ago.

He couldn't have picked a better time to get back on the scoresheet than last night's huge 6-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Early in the third period, with the Blue Jackets holding on to a 3-2 lead, Nash saw his opportunity and pounced on an errant pass, giving him a 1-on-1 with Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. Nash saw his initial effort saved, but was able to finish the rebound, giving Columbus a 4-2 lead and some needed breathing room.

It was only Nash's second goal of the 2018-19 campaign, after the Blue Jackets center notched 15 with Boston last season. Nash couldn't have been happier to get that monkey off his back and find the back of the net again.

"I thought, for a second, he (Price) might reach back and save it," said Nash after Thursday's game. "It's just the way my year's going, so it was nice to see it actually hit the back of the net."

Nash, paired with Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky on a newly-constructed fourth line, seems to be finding his groove with the puck — and that line had a night against Montreal. Dubinsky scored an empty-netter to make it 6-2 Columbus, and also registered an assist on David Savard's goal in the first period. Foligno also added an assist on the Savard goal.

When Foligno returned from his absence from the team, he was slotted onto the fourth line with new line mates.

Going from playing with Josh Anderson and Boone Jenner to Dubinsky and Nash is new for Foligno, and Nash acknowledged that last night. 

"Yeah, I felt bad for Fliggy (Foligno) when he had to play with me and Dubi (Dubinsky)'s a bit of a downgrade for him (chuckles)." 

Nash spoke about the identity of the fourth line, and how they can make an impact each time they step on the ice. 

"We all know what we're out there to do. We have a clear objective, and we read off each other real well. We all have similar games. It's not like we're trying to go out there and make a ton of plays or be fancy. I think it's get it in, get the puck back, work them, use our bodies...just try to make whoever we're playing against play defense, make them grind it out for 30 or 40 seconds. Just pitching in any way we can."

It's clear that Nash, Dubinsky, and Foligno adopted that mantra, and as the Blue Jackets look to finish their season on a high note and reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs, their fourth line will need to keep wearing opponents down — and goals continuing to come from the three veteran forwards will only help in their pursuit of a playoff spot.

To listen to Nash's full interview (starts at 6:15), as well as interviews of Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella, David Savard, Oliver Bjorkstrand, David Savard, and others, click here.

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