2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Columbus Blue Jackets Avoid Sweep, Send Series Back to Pittsburgh

A regulation playoff win!

William Karlsson was a hero last night. Karlsson and Markus Nutivaara went above and beyond the call of duty to keep the Columbus Blue Jackets alive.

The Blue Jackets opened a 3-0 lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins last night in Nationwide Arena and never looked back. There were some nervy moments - Pittsburgh twice cut it to a one goal deficit, including with 26 seconds to go and the net empty - but this time, on this night, the hometown boys answered the call. Despite holding on by the skin of their teeth late in the second period, the Blue Jackets never faltered and never relinquished their lead.

I’d like to take a brief moment to say “Thank you” to the 2016-17 Columbus Blue Jackets. At the beginning of this season, I picked the team to finish dead last in the Metropolitan Division. This season was a surprise and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to share the highs, lows, and memories with so many friends, new and old. Memories created by wonderful players like Zach Werenski, memories created in sharing the winning streak with the commenters here – these memories will last a lifetime.

There are no words to express how much fun I’ve had this season at home in Nationwide Arena. It’s been frustrating at times, but seeing these guys win one for the hometown fans - IN REGULATION - was worth it.

Kyle Quincey and Markus Nuutivara were huge on the back end last night, filling in for Scott Harrington and the injured Zach Werenski. Nuutivara made the most of his chances, scoring his first ever NHL Stanley Cup Playoff goal. Boone Jenner scored the eventual game winner last night and was everywhere on the ice. The line of Karlsson, Josh Anderson, and Matt Calvert was everywhere on the ice last night and did a solid job of shutting down the line of Sidney Crosby, Conor Sheary, and Jake Guentzel (who did manage to score a goal).

The Columbus Blue Jackets, despite being down 3-1, are not dead. 3-1 leads are meant to be blown, and the Blue Jackets have their next crack it Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

Hopefully we can see everyone back in Nationwide Arena on Sunday.

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