Well, we’ve identified the secret sauce the Blue Jackets have been missing - fans in the barn!
The Jackets put on a show tonight, handily defeating the Red Wings 4-1. But is the physical presence of fans just a temporary balm on the festering wound that is the Blue Jackets overall performance this season? Or will the Jackets finally click into place with an occasional in-person home audience? Only time will tell.
Cam Atkinson! That’s it, that’s the tweet. A shorty with a shorty, Cam Atkinson scored his fourth short-handed goal of the short (ha!) season. That makes 11 goals for Cam in his last 17 games against the Red Wings - a pretty nifty stat.
Anthony Mantha scored with less than five minutes left in the first period, but that was the first and last appearance of any kind of offense from the Detroit Red Wings tonight - the rest of the game is the Blue Jackets Show.
The Jackets started the second period by firing shot after shot on poor Jonathan Bernier, who was replaced by Thomas Greiss in the third. Seth Jones had a goal that was challenged by Detroit and swiftly ruled off-sides. But who really got the ball rolling? Riley Nash, of course! He’s not a regular scorer - this was his second goal of the season - but he’s usually good for a goal when the team needs one, and he really greased the Jackets tonight.
Next up, Jack Roslovic - he tipped in a shot by Zach Werenski to bring the score to 3-1, with an assist credited to Cam Atkinson for his second point of the night. Goal from the hometown guy, and free chili for all!
And FINALLY! Boone Jenner. Honestly, I had my fingers crossed for a Max Domi goal since today is his birthday (happy birthday to our favorite March Pisces and Friend Of The Pod) - but Jenner was also sorely in need, so I’ll take it. Domi did look ravenous out there, and he was looking more loose and comfortable than I’ve seen him with this team so far. Maybe Thursday will be his night!
Well, the score was locked at 4-1 at the end of the second period, and that’s how we ended up riding out the game. The Jackets did not look perfect, but they looked solid, confident, and capable - three adjectives that could not have been used to describe any of the last five of their games and subsequent losses.
The Jackets rewarded the fans with a stick salute at the end of the game, and it was abundantly clear that the fans had a lot to do with the win tonight. But how long will that magic last? Will the Jackets be able to lock in this momentum and apply it to the rest of the season? It’s obviously impossible to say - but I can’t help feeling hopeful after tonight’s performance.
The Jackets play next on Thursday in Dallas at 8:30 P.M. EST.