The Columbus Blue Jackets played a hell of a game Thursday night. They just fell behind too far, too early.
That wasn't even the worst part of it. Sure, there was that goal off a rebound by Jamie Benn that found its way through traffic and into the net... or that goal by Alex Goligoski after the puck fell right in front of him, just dying to be tapped in.
The worst part of it is that the puck he knocked in had just connected with Marc Methot's face, knocking him out of the game minus what appeared to be quite a bit of blood. So, not even five minutes in, the Jackets were down a blueliner.
Later in the game, they went down a forward as Jared Boll apparently broke his foot.
It really has been that kind of season hasn't it?
However, even with two guys out, the Jackets didn't let the game slip away. Even with Stephane Robidas scoring a goal early in the second to go up 3-0, the Jackets put it together and fought it out. They took advantage of three power plays -- almost back-to-back-to-back, no less -- by netting two goals. The first came from Vinny Prospal as was getting position in front of the net. Hey, if the guy's going to get an extension, he might as well make us really happy he got it, right?
The second came from Rick Nash, after Derick Brassard got Kari Lehtonen to buy a faked slapshot, and instead slipped it to Nash through traffic... and the captain wristed it into the gap behind Lehtonen's back.
Lehtonen shut the door the rest of the way, however... with a little help from the post on a Jeff Carter shot.
So, despite getting burned by not playing 60 minutes -- along with some plain old bad luck -- the Jackets figured out a way to stay in it, in front of just shy of 16,000 people. Fans are still coming to home games, and the Jackets are giving them hockey.
The season hasn't ended, no matter what the math tells you. The Jackets have shown during this homestand that they've received the memo.
Playing for jobs... perhaps.
Playing for pride... you betcha.
Most importantly... they're playing for the fans.
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