Whatever else you want to say about this series, the Blue Jackets went down swinging. There is honor in that.
They weren’t supposed to be here. Not yet. Not like this.
Even the “smartest” money had this team another year away - at least - from playoff hockey. To make it in as the #3 seed? To go on a near record setting winning streak? To challenge the defending Stanley Cup Champions?
Nobody expected that.
They won at home on a night without their best defenseman and missing several of the veterans who had been expected to help get them over the top.
Even after getting blitzed in the first period, on a night where both Werenski and their Captain were missing, the Jackets came back and scored two quick goals, and appeared to have tied the game early in the third period until the goal was called back.
The Penguins’ power play torched them again, and mistakes by Sergei Bobrovsky and the team in front of him would see the Blue Jackets heading to the handshake line when time had come to an end, the flight back to Columbus and a final team meeting beckoning.
They struggled. They made mistakes. They failed.
But they strived. They had moments of brilliance. And they will learn.
We have the whole summer to look at what worked and what didn’t. The expansion draft, the Entry draft, and free agency to look forward to.
For tonight...just remember that the “smart” money expected this team to be golfing by April 5th, and be proud of everything we got to see from them.
See you next season.