March 5th had been circled on the calendar for a long time for fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets. In one of the most memorable nights in franchise history, Rick Nash’s number 61 was retired and raised to the rafters of Nationwide Arena. An emotional ceremony preceded the game that included former GM Doug Maclean, former coach Ken Hitchcock, former CBJ defenseman and current front office employee Aaron Johnson, and more. The fanfare was topped off by the raising of number 61.
For young kids to seasoned vets, those of us that got to watch Rick Nash play for the Blue Jackets are forever left with the memories of number 61. It’s hard to put into words the impact that Nash had on Columbus and its hockey community. His number hanging in the rafters will forever embody his contribution to the organization, the city of Columbus, and the game of hockey as a whole.
The special night didn’t stop there. The Boston Bruins were in town and that means that former CBJ captain Nick Foligno returned to Columbus for the first time since he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2021 trade deadline. He was honored during the first period to a roaring 5th line.
Thank you for everything, Fliggy ❤️ pic.twitter.com/1USOburp4c— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 6, 2022
The energy from the ceremony carried over into the game. The crowd and the players were buzzing as the Jackets and Bruins traded chances on both ends. Laine in particular looked engaged and dangerous.
The Bruins struck first coming off the second TV timeout. Marchand took a shot from the point towards a crowded net. DeBrusk was able to get a stick on the puck and deflect it past Elvis.
BOS Goal 1-0: DeBrusk (Marchand, McAvoy) 10:39
The good guys struggled to generate offense after the Boston goal, but they still managed to even up the score late in the period. Laine created a rush with a simple pass in the defensive zone. Jenner’s failed pass ended up on Nyquist’s stick and the Swede landed a no-look shot over the shoulder of Swayman.
CBJ Goal 1-1: Nyquist (Jenner, Laine) 16:57
It didn’t take long for the Jackets to take the lead. A Kukan shot from the point deflected off of Danforth’s stick and landed right in front of Gavrikov, who was able to net his third goal of the season.
CBJ Goal 2-1: Gavrikov (Danforth, Kukan) 19:00
Don't get mad, get Vlad! pic.twitter.com/9vpVznXAbs— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 6, 2022
Noteworthy: The Bruins dominated possession for stretches of the first period, but the Jackets did a great job of limiting high danger chances. The Bruins managed twelve shots, but only one high danger chance.
Two minutes in, the referees missed a blatant Boston trip against a puck carrying Voracek. The Bruins took the puck right down the ice and tied up the game.
BOS Goal 2-2: Haula (Marchand) 1:51
This team has a terrible habit of going down a man right after a goal against. It happened again when Kukan hauled down a puck pursuing Bruin behind the net. The aggressive penalty kill was successful and even drew a Bruin penalty as the power play expired.
The Jackets power play had some good puck movement, but they ultimately came up empty. A scary moment did occur during the power play as an attacking Marchand got tied up with Werenski. Zach went hard into his own net and banged his leg on the post. He was shaken up at first, but stayed on the ice.
Another Columbus power play late in the period led to another home team lead. More good puck movement paid off this time as Werenski ripped a shot that Swayman couldn’t quite get all of his glove on.
CBJ Goal 3-2: Werenski (Voracek, Bjorkstrand) 14:28
Ollie is all of us after that Z goal pic.twitter.com/iDdA4N60I6— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 6, 2022
Noteworthy: Werenski scored his goal in the same period he smashed his leg on the post. Hockey players are tough.
The Jackets had a nice start to the period, but it was the Bruins that came up with the first goal. Foligno sprung a pass to start a two-on-one rush that was finished by Smith. Bayreuther got caught flatfooted at the Bruins blueline — he read the play wrong and left Carlsson out to dry on the rush. Carlsson also didn’t play the two-on-one very well. A big all around oof by that defensive pairing.
BOS Goal 3-3: Smith (Clifton, Foligno) 4:40
Not much happened in the middle part of the third. There was plenty of back and forth and physicality, but little in terms of offensive chances for either team.
The Bruins took the lead at the five minute mark. Bjorkstrand went off for high sticking and the Bruins scored on the ensuing power play. It looked like the puck might have exited the zone during the sequence, but upon further review it looked like the puck may not have fully left the zone. Larsen decided not to challenge, a decision the home crowd did not like.
BOS Goal 4-3: Bergeron (Hall, Pastrnak) 14:58
With two minutes left in the game, it was the Kuraly line out on the ice. Not sure I like that decision by the coaching staff.
With 30 seconds left, Foligno went off for hooking. The Jackets got a six-on-four to close out the game and were able to tie it up in miraculous fashion with only two seconds left. After a center ice faceoff with only eighteen seconds left, the Jackets were able to get the puck into the zone. Laine dished a really nice pass to Voracek and with only three seconds left he had no choice but to shoot. Tie game.
CBJ Goal 4-4: Voracek (Laine, Kuraly) 19:57
Werenski crushed the crossbar during overtime, but that was about it as far as high danger chances.
Pastrnak was the lone scorer in extra extra time. Bruins win.
An exciting and special night ended the wrong way. Kudos to the Jackets for playing a mostly solid game against a good, veteran team. It would have been nice to get a win in celebration of the number 61 retirement, but the hockey gods had something different in mind.
I’m not sure why the coaching staff thinks a Bayreuther-Carlsson defensive pairing is a good idea. They were on the ice for two goals against. Christiansen has played well in the games he’s appeared in, but was scratched in favor of the aforementioned players.
Larsen really only played three lines all night. Bemstrom, Sillinger, and Chinakhov all saw less than seven minutes of ice time despite playing well when their names did get called. The Kuraly line got caved in all game in terms of possession, but led ALL forwards in 5v5 ice time. Excuse me, what?
The result ended up being disappointing, but it was still a night to remember as a Blue Jacket fan. Congratulations to Rick Nash and his family!
The Toronto Maple Leafs are back in town Monday night for a 7:00PM faceoff.