That’s right Columbus Blue Jackets’ fan, your team has won game 1 in the possible game 5 series Stanley Cup Qualifiers against Toronto, in the hub city of Toronto! Although there was no score until Atkinson let the puck soar, finding the net in period 3, the excitement of just seeing a hockey game you couldn’t Google the final score of was exhilarating enough. After this first goal, the second came in the last few seconds, via an empty-netter by Wennberg. This giving the Blue Jacket’s a shutout of 2 – 0 for the win in their first live game in over 4 months.
Highlights from the night that made this win and shutout possible include many star players returning, and the team coming together as such, but with that being said there were still some star standouts. At the end of every won home game we have 3 stars of the evening, they skate and give their stick away to a fan. Due to the pandemic and no fans this obviously can’t happen, however, that doesn’t mean I can’t do a top 3 for those who deserve a spotlight.
Our starter goalie has to be the first star-of-the-game, I mean it was a shutout after all, but it goes beyond that. Korpisalo had some incredible saves, at times catching shots in his hand to prevent scores. He was so focused and on his game, you’d think he just played yesterday, not been on a hiatus due to a pandemic for months. It was incredible to watch him knock down shot after shot, and if he continues to perform like this, I have high hopes going forward.
Again, this is a no brainer choice, he scored the first goal in the game and the only against either goaltender! His quick-play boosted his confidence, but also rallied his team when the game was locked at zero. Enough said.
The defense was on fire tonight, and as normal Jones and Werenski fed off each other again, like they hadn’t had a four-month break at all. Jones was my third star because of a simple reason, he has been out far before the NHL hiatus due to a broken ankle. To come back from such an injury, do 2 full weeks only of training camp, and then going right into championship qualifiers performing as he did tonight on defense, this made him stand out to me.
My three stars of the game have proven something to us, this may be hockey in a form we’ve never seen before, but our team is just as strong, talented and cohesive as ever. Even though no fans were aloud, there was still the energy as I texted my best friend constantly throughout the game, this is our normal regardless of if we are at games or not. In a time where normal comes with the word new before it, there are glimmers of familiarity, those glimmers will get us through. Just like with this series and any beyond, it’s one game, one goal, and one day at a time. Game 2 will begin at 4 PM Tuesday, August 4, available to watch on Fox Sports Ohio!