In life, the 'first' is always special. First words, first steps, first date, etc. Typically, those are never forgotten. For Blue Jackets fans, the first home playoff win six years ago, on April 23, 2014, is one that will be remembered for a long time.
Trailing Pittsburgh 2-1 in their first round 2014 playoff series and 3-2 in closing stages of game four, the Jackets were moments away from a 3-1 series deficit and the brink of elimination. That's when Brandon Dubinsky scored his most memorable Blue Jackets goal. Ryan Johansen got behind the net and controlled a puck that was misplayed by Penguins goalie Marc Andre Fleury. Joey then feathered it out to Dubinsky in front of the net and Dubi fired in the game tying goal with just 22.5 seconds left.
That set the stage for Foligno's game winner. The play started with a blocked shot by R.J. Umberger, who eventually got control of the puck again, passed it ahead to Foligno who took what looked like a harmless shot on net. It turned out to be anything but harmless. Lightning struck that night, as the puck got past Fleury, giving the Jackets a dramatic 4-3 win. It tied the series at two and blew the roof off Nationwide Arena.
Unfortunately, that turned out to be the final victory for the Jackets in 2014, but I've talked with many colleagues and friends who were there that night and are regulars at CBJ games. They tell me the crowd had never been louder than after those goals by Dubinsky and Foligno until last year. The Artemi Panarin empty net goal to clinch the unlikely sweep of Tampa Bay might be the only moment to top it.
You can take a stroll down memory lane below. Posted are Dubinsky's tying goal, Foligno's game winner, as well as a Blue Jackets feature, with Foligno talking about that historic first home playoff win. Happy anniversary to Brandon, Nick, the Jackets and the 5th line. What a night!!