An identity forged one season does not automatically transfer to the next. Names change and time passes in the off-season, forcing the atmosphere – so delicate and immeasurable – to be created anew.

But after last night’s improbable 5-4 win over the San Jose Sharks in SAP Center, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards recognized a certain energy radiating off his proud, sweat-soaked players.

“There were a lot of things that happened in this game that remind me of what this team is,” Richards said. “Last year, our identity was that of a resilient team. And this, tonight, was a resilient win.”

The Blue Jacket trailed 2-0. They trailed 4-3 midway through the third. They had a late goal that would have put them up 5-4 disallowed by an NHL official’s ruling.

But they prevailed 5-4 anyway on Mark Letestu’s redirection of a David Savard slapshot with 20.7 seconds remaining.

“One of those games where we had an opporutnity to hang our heads about three times,” Letestu said. “Credit the guy, we stuck with it. That’s been our identity for a while now. We all stuck together and got it done.”

Letestu and Ryan Johansen each scored two goals, while Scott Hartnell – playing in his 960th NHL game – set a career-high with four assists.

Nick Foligno also had a goal and an assist for Columbus, while goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had 33 saves.

The Blue Jackets played a pitiful first period, falling behind 2-0 and getting outshot 16-5 by the Sharks, who just got back from a five-game road trip that ended Tuesday on the East Coast.

“They were quicker to pucks. They were harder on the battle,” Richards said. “We had to get that changed.”

Said Artem Anisimov: “It was terrible. No good. Move on.”

Did they ever.

The Blue Jackets scored three goals in the span of 5:14 in the second period – two by Johansen and one, short-handed, by Letestu – to take a 3-2 lead.

Johansen’s first goal may have stemmed the tide, but it was the perfectly executed short-handed goal that pumped pure oxygen into the Blue Jackets’ lungs.

Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin started the play out of the zone with a crisp pass to Anisimov, who pulled away from a crowd and then pulled wide as he came into the Sharks’ zone, allowing Letestu to skate ahead.