Photo by Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch
It may have taken 14 years, but last night Columbus officially became a hockey town.
If you want to know why I don't have much of a voice today, it's because I was at the first home playoff win in Blue Jackets history. Their epic back-and-forth first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins had featured three consecutive games in which one team staked claim to a 3-1 lead only to eventually fall to a 4-3 loss (the losing teams being the Blue Jackets, the Penguins, and the Jackets again through three games).
When the Pens grabbed a 3-0 lead just past the midway point in the first period, there was no joy in Nationwide (except for the smattering of Penguins fans). The Jackets got one back via Boone Jenner. Final score after one period: 3-1. Could it happen again? It could. Then it did.
First, Ryan Johansen made it 3-2 in the second period. As for what happened next, I may never get tired of watching these videos. Here's Brandon Dubinsky sending the game into overtime with 24 seconds left:
And here is Nick Foligno. FOR. THE. WIN.
Oh, and Foligno reportedly called it before the OT period, according to Dubinsky. “Nick’s exact words were: ‘I’m going to go out and score the OT goal. I haven’t done a whole lot until now, but I’m going to find a way to score. I hope you don’t mind,’ ” Dubinsky said.
We don't mind, Nick. We don't mind one bit.
With the series now tied, Game 5 will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday. Game 6 will be back in Columbus on Monday. There's room on the Blue Jackets bandwagon, everybody. Welcome aboard.