Last night was fun, huh? Artemi Panarin got on the board, Sergei Bobrovsky made one of the best saves we’ve ever seen and the Blue Jackets beat the Red Wings in a shootout that might still be happening if not for Michigan’s own Jack Johnson.
Longtime Jackets fans will remember, though, games with Detroit weren’t always happy occasions. Rarely happy occasions, in fact. Columbus boasts a 32-42-1-12 record against the Red Wings in the regular season…and after you tack on four losses from the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s a downright stinky 32-46-1-12 overall. That’s 77 points in 87 regular season games, which is actually pretty close to the 2016-17 Detroit Red Wings season.
Luckily for all of us, the tables have turned. After last night’s win, the Blue Jackets have won four straight against the Red Wings, tying their longest-ever win streak against Detroit. Over the last 19 games (since March 28, 2012), Columbus has gone 14-3-2 against Hockeytown. Clash that with a 19-43-1-10 record (including playoff games) after the 2010-11 season. What a time to be alive.
Teams rise and fall over the course of time, naturally, but it’s hard to express how much a decade of constant losing to a dynastic team from Michigan sucked. Detroit fans filling up Nationwide for an almost-guaranteed win. A now-forgotten Wings blog calling the Jackets “Ken Hitchcock’s easy BJ’s” resonates years later. Columbus grabbing its first ever playoff berth, only to be smushed like an particularly excited bug.
The NHL’s 2013-14 realignment hurt what could’ve blossomed into a real rivalry, especially now that Columbus wins these games. Remember looking forward to years of Jimmy Howard versus Steve Mason duels? Maybe not, but you get the point. Moving both teams out of the Central Division halved the annual meetings from six to three (and there were three seasons from 2005-2008 where the teams met eight times), and now Detroit plays in a fancy new arena with a logo on the roof and nobody in the seats.
But it’s almost all positive memories over the past couple of years. Cam Atkinson potting a few as Columbus hung five on them last year. Seth Jones’s overtime beauty after a controversial no-call. And this goal, maybe one of the best in CBJ history:
The teams meet two more times this season, both at Nationwide in March and April. Detroit famously missed the playoffs last year for the first time since the first Bush administration while the Blue Jackets enjoy the most successful period in franchise history. The Red Wings boast just three fewer points than Columbus as of this writing though, and while they don’t compete in the same division, there will likely be some big games between these two sides in the coming years. Only these days, Blue Jackets fans just want more of the same.