Mar 21, 2014, 1:41 PM EST
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.
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 32
- Mike Richards clears waivers 31
- Game on: Islanders-Rangers to be played despite storm 14
- Flyers’ Rinaldo suspended eight games for his hit on Letang 54
- Isles’ rise to be tested as they lose Okposo for 6-8 weeks 16
- L.A. Sorry? Kings waive Mike Richards 123
- Bobrovsky out 4-6 weeks, Jackets recall goalie Forsberg 3
- Blue Jackets proud as Columbus shows it’s a hockey town 24
- From contract dispute to All-Star MVP, Johansen’s had quite the year 17
- Marc-Andre Fleury would like to remind the Columbus crowd that the Penguins beat the Blue Jackets in the playoffs 33
- Columnist: Flyers ‘orchestrated’ fight night versus Pens during meal at ‘a local steakhouse’ (130)
- L.A. Sorry? Kings waive Mike Richards (123)
- Flyers’ Rinaldo: ‘I changed the whole game, man’ (112)
- Video: Rinaldo tossed for boarding Letang (79)
- Report: Flyers’ Rinaldo waives right to an in-person hearing (61)