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Dave Maetzold

Blue Jackets put old cliche to rest with dramatic win.

 
Posted April 24th, 2014 @ 1:54pm

The phrase has been out of date for months.

It's been innacurate for the better part of two seasons.

The Blue Jackets dramatic 4-3 overtime victory over Pittsburgh Wednesday night in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs may have sent the phrase to a its grave.

The phrase?

"Same old Blue Jackets."

Without dredging up old wounds, this phrase may have worked for most of the CBJ's existance. But it doesn't work anymore.

Last season, the Blue Jackets came within an eyelash of making the playoffs. A wild 19-5-5 finish wasn't quite good enough.

And what did people say?

"Same old Blue Jackets."

This season, the team got off to a slow start as the Jackets lost 4 in a row in a losing month of October and 5 in a row in a losing month of November.

"Same old Blue Jackets."

Then something interesting occured which Blue Jackets fans had no answer for.

An eight game winning streak. That had never happened before.

The team began to climb up and over the .500 mark. Two games over, then four then six games over the .500 mark.

The "P" word, once taboo to even mention for fear of some sort of jinx, was thrown about easily.

There were some bad losses. A 6-1 loss to Chicago on March 6th and a last second kick to the teeth in front of a Friday night full house at Nationwide also courtesy of the Blackhawks on April 4th.

"Same old Blue Jackets."

Lesser teams who represented the franchise may have folded at this point. But at this stage of the playoff run, what many suspected was beginning to be confirmed among the S-O-B-J crowd.

The team won four of its last five games to finish in 7th place in the conference.

Hmmm. That never happened before.

Here are some other things no Blue Jackets team had achieved before this season.

43 regular season wins.

21 regular season road wins.

93 points in a season.

226 goals in a season.

Finishing ahead of the hated Detroit Red Wings in the standings.

"What do you say to that?" the naysayers asked one another as the Blue Jackets advance to the post-season for the second time in franchise history.

The playoff match-up with the powerful Pittsburgh Penguins would certainly provide some fodder. After all the old Blue Jackets have never won a playoff game.

The Jackets lost a 3-1 lead and game one of the playoffs and S-O-B-J was being dusted off and ready to use.

However in game two, the Jackets reversed their fortunes. The team erased that never-won-a-playoff-game line from their resume with a come-from-behind, double-overtime win on the road to even their series with the Pens at a win a piece.

Matt Calvert was the hero of that game scoring his second goal of the game early in second overtime.

S-O-B-J had one foot in the grave.

The Blue Jackets came home to a frenzied sell-out crowd at Nationwide Arena for their first home playoff game in five years.

The welcome the team received was deafening.

The Jackets let a 3-1 lead slip away and lost game three 4-3. For about a day, that old phrase was threatening to return.

Then came the fatal blow.

Trailing 3-0 at home in game four with every whiney Jackets hater poised and ready to fire on every message board and talk radio show they could find, the Blue Jackets did something their forefathers could've only dreamed of.

They faced down the Penguins and froze them in their tracks.

The three goal deficit soon dwindled to two. "We had hope", head coach Todd Richards would say after the game.

The two goal deficit became one and everyone in the building became filled with hope.

In the final minute with hope on a respirator and Bob pulled for an extra skater, a moment occured Blue Jackets fans will remember for the rest of their lives.

Brandon Dubinsky took a perfect pass from Ryan Johansen and scored to tie the game at three and force the game into sudden death overtime.

Jubilation!

Free hockey!

Another first as Columbus was about to experience NHL playoff overtime for the first time in its relatively short history as a professional sports town.

It didn't last long.

The epic moment came less than three minutes into the extra period.

Nick Foligno whistled a snap-shot past Penguins goalie Marc Andre-Fleury and the Blue Jackets had a 4-3 win.

19-thousand people roared their approval as Foligno slid on his knees in celebration of the win.

Something else had been brought to its knees. The notion that this team that had compiled one of the best records in the NHL over the last 14 months was anything like the Blue Jackets teams that had come before.

And the crowd continued to roar.

"The struggles is what allows people to enjoy the success more", Richards said a day later. "That's what makes this process great."

The win didn't give the Blue Jackets any type of trophy or championship. It only guaranteed they would get at least two more playoff games.

But the experience for those on and off the ice is invaluable.

"The more that we can get ourselves in these moments, the more it pays off", Richard said. "You gotta get yourself in as many moments as your can. That's how your grow up."

So goodbye "Same-old Blue Jackets".

It's time to grow up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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