While much will be made of Pittsburgh’s shortcomings and Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s questionable play towards the end of Game 4 on Wednesday, the fact remains that the Columbus Blue Jackets never quit and they were rewarded for their persistence with a 4-3 overtime victory.
The Blue Jackets down 3-0 midway through the first period, just days after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Penguins. They had every reason to be demoralized. Instead Columbus earned its franchise’s first playoff victory at home and tied the series at two in the process.
“You don’t want to script this game going down 3-0…but you can’t script a better finish,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said, per the team’s Twitter account.
The Blue Jackets’ night does feel like something out of a story. Brandon Dubinsky tied the contest with just 24 seconds remaining in regulation.
“You guys mind if I go ahead and win this thing?” asked Nick Foligno during the intermission, according to the Blue Jackets’ Rob Mixer.
Then he went out and did just that.
The Blue Jackets’ franchise history is filled with disappointments. They never could capitalize on Rick Nash. They could never get Steve Mason back on track after his Calder Trophy winning season.
The franchise started playing in 2000 and they hadn’t won a playoff contest going into this series, but that’s in the past now and the team’s future looks brighter.
Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.
Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.
(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)
Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.
Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.