For the better part of the first 999 games, Blue Jackets fans fell into two groups: those who felt the so-called hockey gods were against them and those who were hockey atheists, believing no god could be so cruel as heap so much misery on one club. There have been glimmers of hope through the years — even a seven-day taste of the playoffs five years ago — but never have the Blue Jackets seemed so engaged, skilled and hungry to reward their fans for the years of waiting. Last night, the Jackets simply pulled away from the Philadelphia Flyers, getting goals from five players for a 5-2 victory before 15,571 at Nationwide Arena. That’s eight straight wins, a franchise record heading into a home game on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. “It’s a lot of fun to be a part of,” said center Derek MacKenzie, who started a stretch of four unanswered goals for the Blue Jackets. “Credit to all the guys in the (dressing) room. They’ve found a way over the last couple of years to really change the atmosphere (in the room). “We always felt like this was a place that deserved a winning team, a team that was playoff-bound. The guys who were brought in have all been character guys, and they’ve found a way for this team to be competitive every night.” Jack Johnson, Matt Calvert, Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton and MacKenzie scored for the Blue Jackets, and 10 players had at least one point. There were unsung standouts, too. Rookie Boone Jenner drew four penalties against the Flyers. The win pushed the Blue Jackets past the Flyers and into third place in the Metropolitan Division. “It’s a great accomplishment for our players,” coach Todd Richards said. “It starts in the room. There’s an understanding now of how we need to play. We have different players who step up at different times. We’re getting contributions from a lot of guys. Guys aren’t caught up in the points, and who’s getting them and all these other things. It’s all about the winning.” The Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead at 8:20 of the first period, when Johnson took a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that caromed off the right leg of Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn and shot into the net behind goaltender Ray Emery. After falling behind 2-1 in the second period, the Blue Jackets rallied to take the lead. MacKenzie scored off a slick feed from Artem Anisimov, and Matt Calvert redirected a puck into the net off a feed from James Wisniewski at 16:13 to make it 3-2. That pushed momentum clearly in favor of the Blue Jackets, especially after they deftly killed a 5-on-3 Flyers power play at the end of the second period and start of the third. But the clincher was scored at 3:29 of the third to put the Blue Jackets up 4-2. Fedor Tyutin and Calvert worked together to keep a puck in the zone that seemed to be an easy clear for the Flyers, and when the puck slid ahead to Dubinsky he converted a wrist shot through Emery.
Blue Jackets 5, Flyers 2: Night to celebrate
Columbus Dispatch | Jan 24