Isn’t it fun to take a trip down the Columbus Blue Jackets memory lane? Well ,hopefully this segment will bring back some good and bad (hopefully more good) memories from some games in Blue Jackets history.
On February 19th 2009, the Columbus Blue Jackets were heading into Toronto hot as they had won five of their last six games. 2008 had been an up and down year with lots of winning and losing streaks for the Jackets.
Heading into Toronto, the Jackets had just taken down the St. Louis Blues 4-3 in a tough fought game and were getting prepared for a dogfight against the Maple Leafs.
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The game started out slow with the 1st period only seeing goals from Nik Antropov, on the power play, and Rick Nash with his 25th of the season. Assists had come from Kristian Huselius, who was having a great season for the Jackets at this time, and Manny Malhotra.
In the second period, RJ Umberger gave the Jackets a lead, but common at this time, the Jackets let Jamal Mayers and Nik Antropov score quickly back to back as Toronto headed to the 2nd intermission with a 3-2 lead.
Thankfully in the 3rd, Huselius scored a minute into the period, to bring the Jackets even. That was the entirety of the action in the final frame for either side.
Here is where the fun began.
Overtime went by with nobody scoring. Remember, this is back when overtime was 4 vs. 4 and almost every single overtime was going to a shootout. So in our case here, this was a battle between Jacket’s rookie net minder Steve Mason, and Toronto’s Justin Pogge.
Mason stopped Niklas Hagman on the first attempt for Toronto. Jason Williams, a relatively unknown player who had been a journeyman the past two seasons in the NHL, pulled off a move that was ahead of its time.
Everyone knows the Nikita Kucherov move. He pulled it off in the All-Star game last season, and multiple times throughout the rest of the season. The no-move move was the talk of the league. But Kucherov didn’t even do it first.
Williams purposefully let the puck leave his stick while moving his stick in the air around the puck as it slid right through Pogge’s five hole giving the Jackets a lead after one round of the shootout.
Jason Blake also pulled off an incredible move on Steve Mason, but after Rick Nash put his attempt in the back of the net, Mason shut the door on Lee Stempniak giving the Jackets their sixth win in seven games.
The Jackets would storm through the finish line of the season, and were rewarded with their first franchise post season appearance.
I hope you enjoyed looking back at one of the classic Jackets moments in history, and the true origin story behind Nikita Kucherov’s shootout move. Have any suggestions for a Flashback Friday game? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.