It finally happened. The Columbus Blue Jackets finally won a playoff game.
What has seemed like the improbable to many Columbus hockey fans is now a reality. That the rest of the nation, not to mention the rest of Ohio, doesn’t understand why fans like myself are so excited with one win is irrelevant.
Forward Matt Calvert sealed the victory for the Jackets with a goal less than two minutes into the second overtime of game two versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first round series of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is now tied at 1-1, with game three taking place Monday evening at Nationwide Arena.
That the win happened against the Pens, a team that could be considered a favorite to win Lord Stanley’s cup, cannot be overstated. The Jackets have effectively neutralized Pittsburgh’s two best players, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is once again playing the type of hockey that made him a fan favorite last season.
To players such as Bobrovsky, Calvert, R.J. Umberger, and Jack Johnson, among others, this win is just one-step toward a much larger goal. To the fans in Columbus, it is the first sign that the Blue Jackets plan to be a playoff contender for many years to come.
The way the game started, however, didn’t favor the Blue Jackets. Two Pittsburgh Power plays led to an early two-goal advantage (3-1) after the first period. Calvert, the overtime hero, would cut the lead to 3-2 after scoring a shorthanded goal less than halfway through the second period. Jack Johnson would then score the equalizer on a Columbus power play with less than seven minutes left in the third period.
And while the expectation may now be that Columbus could win the series, the fans will not soon forget this win. After all, it has been a long time in the making.