Mar 21, 2014, 1:41 PM EDT
Yes, it’s the return of Rick Nash to Nationwide Arena. But tonight is a lot more than that for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tonight’s game against the Rangers is an opportunity to take a huge step towards returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2009, and for just the second time in franchise history.
With a regulation win, Columbus would move two points up on the Rangers for third spot in the Metropolitan Division, and the Jackets would still have a game in hand. We’d mention the possibility of a first-round playoff matchup against another old teammate, Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Testament to how quickly things can change in sports, it was only two seasons ago that Columbus was the laughingstock of the NHL, finishing dead last with a record of 29-46-7. Last night, the Jackets went into Montreal and got a well-deserved 3-2 win over the Canadiens.
“We skated, we were physical, we fore-checked hard,” Brandon Dubinsky said. “I liked our tenacity. We created turnovers.”
Again, we don’t want to get to get too far ahead of ourselves, but if they can avoid a late-season collapse, the Jackets are a team that could make some noise in the playoffs. They’re 7-2-1 in their last 10, and they’ve done most of that without defenseman Ryan Murray, and with a struggling power play.
- Price makes 43 saves as Senators’ magical run ends in controversy 15
- Video: Fast whistle costs Senators potentially critical goal 11
- WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action 3
- Another Blues campaign ends in disappoint as Wild advance 84
- Crosby joining Team Canada at Worlds 16
- Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for today 12
- One more time, with feeling: Flames stage yet another comeback, eliminate Vancouver 25
- Keith conquers: Blackhawks come back, eliminate Predators 49
- Red Wings smother Lightning, take 3-2 series lead 23
- Going the distance: Isles edge Caps to force Game 7 43
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead (114)
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime (108)
- Bettman under fire after saying ‘Katy Perry’ chant wasn’t sexist (92)
- Another Blues campaign ends in disappoint as Wild advance (90)
- Okposo blasts ‘idiot’ Wilson after physical outing versus Isles (82)