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Big in the 80’s: Columbus jumps to East’s first wild card spot after beating Detroit

Mar 25, 2014, 10:31 PM EDT

Detroit Red Wings v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

Plenty of people might take issue with Cam Atkinson‘s game-winning goal for the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, but it seems kind of fitting. Things are just that close in the Eastern Conference’s frantic race for the final two playoff spots, making quite a debut for the wild card system.

Before we get to how the Blue Jackets jumped from 10th place in the East to seventh (aka the first wild card spot), let’s ponder the Blue Jackets’ 4-2 win … which obviously – and importantly – came in regulation.

Here’s Atkinson’s goal followed by the league’s explanation regarding why it stood, via the Situation Room blog.

According to rule 63.6 “In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, prior to the puck crossing the normal positions of the goal posts, the referee may award a goal. In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions of a defending player, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal.” This is not a reviewable call. Good goal Columbus.

Well, there you go.

Beyond that controversy, it seemed like a battle of scrappy teams. The Red Wings have been overcoming a staggering array of injuries, yet the Blue Jackets shook off Sergei Bobrovsky‘s injury to win with Curtis McElhinney, who was only beaten once tonight.

They also overcame red-hot Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist, who scored two more goals today:

East outlook

In other East news, the Toronto Maple Leafs dropped a dispiriting sixth consecutive loss while the Washington Capitals snared a “charity point” from the red-hot Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

So, with all this activity, here’s how the wild card race looks:


Long story short: buckle up.

  1. kaptaanamerica - Mar 25, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Good on the Jackets. It would have been hard for them to break through in the West, but in the East they should thrive. they are only getting stronger and are already better than some of the teams that get a lot of unwarranted hype on a yearly basis. Columbus fans ‘deserve’ to have their team in the playoffs as much as the fanbase of any other team including the so-called ‘original six’ …

    • miketoasty - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM

      Maybe since the West is just so amazing they should make their own league and not include the East? Wouldn’t that make so much sense since the East obviously has no chance against any team from the West. /s

      • kaptaanamerica - Mar 26, 2014 at 6:22 AM

        why take offense? I’m complementing the Jackets on making their mark on the East. Hopefully they kick some serious Easterner arse in the process and make people rue the day they knocked Columbus like it was some backwater.

        I’d like to see the Jackets lay a real smackdown on some teams in the playoffs, like Ric Flair used to do, and get on a run like Carolina did and get to the finals. It would go a long ways to showing the world they aren’t taking a back seat to any of these over hyped so-called “original six” clubs or anyone else in the East…

    • hockey412 - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      Columbus was in the same general position they are now last year, in the West, correct?

      • jacketbacker78 - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        Correct. Lost out to the Wings for the last wildcard spot due to a tie breaker

  2. c9castine - Mar 25, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    awesome good for them i want them to keep making it. if hockey got big in columbus i think it would be really good for the league. way more than phoenix or some place.

  3. muckleflugga - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    todally awesome phantasmagorically special dudes

    the old marginal franchise with bleak prospects and bleaker attendance figures badly in need of elevating into the playoffs spirit of the rule applied when needed most

    no shame

    the odds of wings or any other team not in desperate need of propping-up against mediocre play otherwise having that goal count are beyond measure

    ditto the wild the other night … how far these teams be carried

    what a farce

  4. stakex - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:08 AM

    Wait, so that wasn’t a reviewable play? I fully agree that the goal should count (at least in theory), but I’m shocked that the NHL’s statement says its not reviewable. There are far too many situations in which the refs call on the ice is not reviewable when it comes to goals…. and since this is one that’s about as black and white as it gets, it makes no sense at all.

  5. muckleflugga - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:16 AM

    howard could have been a tangled wreck in the corner with the net draped over his twitching unconscious body and if a blue jacket had taken the trouble to cycle back and run the puck through the peg holes it would have counted

    there is apparently, no threshold limit for how far and how high a goal has to be off its pins for a goal to count

    at least tonight

    • c9castine - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:41 AM

      find a kleenex.

  6. muckleflugga - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:51 AM


    climbed down from his neighbour’s ewe just long enough to offer a near unintelligible remark between ragged lungfuls and squelching boots

    too baaaaad baaa baaaaad says dolly … i was nearly there

    this is the same blithering idiot who’s been whining for two weeks over penguins inevitable slide into annual mediocrity

    lmao … a village and a sheep pen is somewhere, missing its favourite son

    • c9castine - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      what are you expecting from this? me to be upset? some sort of angry reply? what is it boy? some sort of moment of clarity where I pronounce my observational and intellectual inferiority?

      toilet paper may work better, considering you speak from your ass.

  7. bozgood - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:53 AM

    Well… remember Kronwalls goal against the Kings. The one that deflected off the top of the net. I knew it would somehow come back to bite the Wings and it did. Hockey justice I guess. With that said, I still thought it was very poorly officiated. No double minor called when Millers face was broken by a high stick. Hooking penalty on Legwand that was a clean play. Ok, I’ve vented enough, I’ll move on.

  8. patshal - Mar 26, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    Great games all around the NHL last night.

  9. mshantz22 - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    That was some of the worst officiating I’ve witnessed all season long on both sides. I don’t know what was worse, the hooks the wings got away with, the high sticking call where the Columbus player ran right into the stick, or the slashing call on Legwand when he knocked the puck off the guy’s stick.

  10. jeffchadwick - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    The Atkinson “goal” notwithstanding, that wasn’t exactly a highlight reel for NHL officiating last night. The Wings took two penalties for “slashing” and “hooking” respectively, where there were neither hooking nor slashing. And of course, Drew Miller took a two handed cross-check to the face that drew blood and went uncalled.

    All of that being said, Red Wings still had a fair bit of time – and a power play – to get that Atkinson silliness back, and they didn’t.

  11. jeffchadwick - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    The other thing I would add is that, according to the rules, the player must be in the process of shooting the puck before the net comes off the moorings for this particular rule to apply. Watch the replay – in no way did that happen. The net was a solid two feet off its moorings before the puck crossed the line. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a goal count in that situation.

    • jeffchadwick - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      Great photo of the “goal” from the AP in the link below. Note that the goal is fully off its moorings when Atkinson begins the process of shooting the puck. NHL goofed here, and the Jackets were a little lucky.

      • c9castine - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        i hope your taking into account the actual rule, and not the perceived rule, which states that a goal may be awarded in the case of a net being lifted off the moorings if it is determined that the defensive team was responsible for the removal of the net.

      • lionstigersandwingsohmy - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        The only real problem I have with the call is that the net coming off the moorings may have aided the shot. The shooter crashes into the net and it moves prior to the shot. There is the possibility that the shot would have been altered had the net not moved (puck in his feet, angle of the stick). I think in that case, you can’t say the net coming off had no impact on the goal, it may have.

  12. 19wasthebest - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    NHL needs the Jackets in the playoffs, they every year decide on a team.

  13. slysipops - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    last weekend the ref who blew the call and gave the WINGS a chance to beat the BLACHAWKS in overtime was HONORED in one of the games played in CANADA. now you have this pathetic call ( by the way i am not a WINGS fan ) ! everything in all walks of life is so watered down anymore. with all the advancement in video replay and traking of every sort, crap like this STILL HAPPENS ! why ?

    • slysipops - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      overtime in last years playoffs

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