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NASH DAY Preview/Gamethread: Bruins at Blue Jackets

Come spend this special day with us

Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Saturday, March 5, 2022 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Boston Bruins (33-18-4, 70 points, 4th Atlantic, 7th East)

at

Columbus Blue Jackets (28-25-2, 58 points, 5th Metro, 9th East)

Today is a big moment in CBJ franchise history. For the first time, the Blue Jackets will retire a player’s number. The choice was an obvious one: Rick Nash was the first overall pick in 2002, made his debut that fall as an 18 year old, and scored in his first game. From there, he just kept scoring and after a decade in Columbus he claims many of the franchise records, including games played and goals scored. As a 19 year old, he won the Rocket Richard trophy as the leading goal scorer in the league. He is one of just three players to have led his team in scoring for 10 consecutive seasons (that’s a really bonkers stat).

He was a great player on some pretty mediocre teams. But finally, in 2009, he was captain as the Jackets reached the postseason for the first time in franchise history. Appropriately, it was his game-tying goal against Chicago that earned the point they needed to clinch their berth.

The way he left town hurt a lot, and I know some of you still hold that against him. I know I was one of the many who booed him every time he came back to Nationwide. However, I have softened my stance on him since he has returned home — that’s right: home. He could have gone anywhere in retirement, but he and his wife opted to return to her home state to raise their children here. He spoke with multiple NHL teams but joined the Jackets’ front office. Now he is the Director of Player Development, molding the next generation of Jackets stars.

That’s a great role for him, as he already inspired a generation of hockey players in Central Ohio. The Jackets have two players on the roster who grew up here, idolizing Nash. For being a star that the hockey world recognized from this team, and for being a star who was a role model for fans and players in the growing hockey market of Columbus, he deserves this permanent recognition in the rafters of Nationwide Arena.

Doors open at 5. The retirement ceremony will start shortly after 5:30, an will be broadcast on TV as well. I’m sure there will be lots of Cannonites there, so let’s have a roll call in the comments. We could meet up between the ceremony and game, while the teams warm up. A display of Nash artifacts is near our usual meeting spot, so maybe we need to figure out an alternate location.

Player to Watch

Nick Foligno

I’ve had this game circled on my calendar since the schedule came out, and even before the Nash celebration was announced. Today marks the return of the former captain, Nick Foligno, since his trade to Toronto last season. At the time, we thought that he would re-sign here in the summer, but the team’s decision to rebuild closed that door. Instead, Fligs signed a two year deal in Boston. It has not gone well for him so far, as he has suffered multiple injuries and only played in 38 games. He has two goals and seven assists, but that includes a two point game on Tuesday in Anaheim, so maybe he has a hot streak on the way.

Foligno meant a lot to this franchise and this city, both on and off the ice. He deserves a massive ovation and I look forward to being part of it.

Jackets Notes

Heart-breaking loss last night, as they blew a 3-1 lead in the third period, then had an OT winner taken off the board due to offsides. Larsen says that an NHL team shouldn’t need to practice not being offsides, but...uh....maybe this one does? Just a thought ... Elvis Merzlikins faced a heavy workload last night so he probably shouldn’t start tonight, but it appears he’s going to anyway ... Joonas Korpisalo, Jake Bean, and Eric Robinson were practicing with the team this week, so any could be back tonight. Zach Werenski returned last night ... Jack Roslovic suffered a lower body injury last night, and though he returned it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll be good to go today.

The Other Bench

The Bruins are riding a hot streak of their own, winning six of their last seven games ... The Tukka Rask comeback didn’t work out, but the Bruins appear to have a new long-term netminder on their hands in 23 year old Jeremy Swayman. He’s 14-7-3 with a .930 save percentage and 1.95 goals against average. The Jackets are shooting well, but will need to increase their number of attempts if they want to get enough past this guy.

Season Series

03/05/2022 BOS @ CBJ
04/02/2022 CBJ @ BOS
04/04/2022 BOS @ CBJ

Stats

Boston Columbus
3.00 (16) GPG 3.25 (9)
2.65 (5) GAPG 3.62 (31)
24.2% (7) PP% 17.0% (24)
81.8% (10) PK% 80.4% (14)
53.4% (7) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.3% (24)
54.3% (4) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.6% (27)
7.1 (29) 5v5 Shooting % 9.6 (3)
.918 (16) 5v5 Save % .907 (30)
David Pastrnak, 31 G Leader Boone Jenner, 23
Brad Marchand, 31 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 38
David Pastrnak, 56 P Leader Boone Jenner, 43
Brad Marchand, 69 PIM Leader Vladislav Gavrikov
17-8-3 Home / Road 15-11-2
7-2-1 Last 10 6-3-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine Boone Jenner Gus Nyquist
Jakub Voracek Jack Roslovic Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Max Domi Sean Kuraly Justin Danforth
Emil Bemstrom Cole Sillinger Yegor Chinakhov
Zach Werenski Andrew Peeke
Vladislav Gavrikov Dean Kukan
Gavin Bayreuther Gabriel Carlsson
Elvis Merzlikins
Jean-Francois Berube
Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron Jake Debrusk
Taylor Hall Erik Huala David Pastrnak
Trent Frederic Charlie Coyle Craig Smith
Nick Foligno Tomas Nosek Jesper Froden
Mike Reilly Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort Connor Clifton
Jeremy Swayman
Linus Ullmark