It was the first regulation win for Columbus since November 22. And, as one would presume from a team that is scratching and clawing to get out of a slump, it wasn't the prettiest of wins. The Blue Jackets didn't really get their act together in a consistent manner until the last 5-6 minutes of the game, when they ratcheted down on the Rangers. Not so coincidentally, that is precisely the same period of the game when Rick Nash had two incredible goals - a ricochet shot from behind the goal line that went off Henrik Lundquist's pads and then a breakaway in the last minute that caught Lundquist leaving the net to give the Rangers an extra skater.
And then the moment of ironic beauty: Whereas last year's game saw Rangers coach John Tortorella calling his team's timeout to calm his team down en route to a 7-4 thrashing of the Blue Jackets, this year saw Torts using the TO after Nash's second goal to dress the Rangers up and down. My, how the times change.
Here are the game highlights...
CBJ win. 2 solid points in the standings. And, as I type, the Blue Jackets are back in 8th place in the West. Deep breaths.
Is the slump over? I don't think we can say that yet.
Could it be the start of the end of the slump? Certainly.
Will we ever see the third jerseys again? (They were "scratched" tonight, as was "Boomer".) Perhaps.
Before I sign off, just a little tip of the Dark Blue Hat to the New York Rangers front office. They wisely recognized that they had a key team sponsor, Chase, who has a huge corporate presence in Columbus. The Rangers invited the Chase marketing folks in Columbus to the Rangers' morning skate. I'm not a Chase employee, but a friend invited the Dark Blue Toddler and me to take part. Nothing fancy, just pregame practice with coffee and donuts. Regardless, it was a classy gesture. I had a chance to meet a few members of the Rangers marketing and PR crew, and they were all fine folks (who loved the DBT something fierce, even while I was chasing DBT all over the stands!). I only hope that the CBJ treat their important partners as well on the road as the Rangers did with Chase.
NEXT UP: The Blue Jackets embark on a 3 game/4 night stretch through Western Canada, starting in the Saddledome on Monday night at 9PM EST against the Calgary Flames, who have plenty of their own issues to deal with. We were the desperate ones tonight, and they're going to be desperate when we pull into town.