The Columbus Blue Jackets started the night by honoring forward Scott Hartnell for playing in 1,000 games and finished it by diminishing his former squad’s playoff chances with a 4-3 overtime win against Philadelphia.
The Flyers enjoyed 1-0 and 3-1 leads thanks to Wayne Simmonds, who scored his 20th and 21st goals this season.
He wouldn’t end up being the hero tonight though as Jared Boll managed to find the back of the net for the first time since Nov. 12, 2013.
That turned the tide in favor of Columbus. Cam Atkinson tied the contest with 4:40 left in the third frame and then Artem Anisimov provided the overtime winner. It was the first time this season that Columbus successfully staged a comeback after trailing through 40 minutes.
“It was nice to finally get on the board, but it feels even better to win,” Boll said, per the team’s Twitter feed.
The Flyers have still managed to secure at least a point in eight straight contests, but losing back-to-back games in overtime has to sting given how much ground they have to cover in the playoff race. Philadelphia is six points behind Boston in the battle for the second Wild Card spot, but has participated in one extra contest. The Bruins are playing against Vancouver tonight.
Maybe, just maybe, things are starting to turn around in Columbus.
Yesterday, the Blue Jackets returned Artem Anisimov (torn triceps) from a 23-game absence and today, the team announced defenseman Ryan Murray was activated off IR after missing the last 36 contests.
Murray, 21, has been plagued all year by knee problems, having missed the first seven games of the year following offseason surgery. The former No. 2 overall pick — taken behind Nail Yakupov at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — also missed time last year with a knee problem.
Getting Murray back is a huge boost for the Jackets. Despite his injury issues, he still managed to score 21 points in 66 games last season and average nearly 20 minutes a night. Columbus also leaned on him heavily during last year’s opening-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh, during which he played 22:44 a night.
Artem Anisimov will try to turn around a nightmarish season on Thursday when the Jackets take on the Panthers at Nationwide.
Anisimov, who’s missed the last 23 games with a torn triceps, will draw back into the lineup for the first time since Nov. 29 and play just his 17th game of the year.
As mentioned, the Russian forward’s had a really tough campaign injury-wise. He missed seven games earlier in the year with a concussion, got healthy, played in seven contests, then suffered the torn triceps.
That string of poor health is indicative of what Columbus has dealt with all season long. No team has lost more man games due to injury and, heading into tonight’s tilt with Florida, the Jackets are missing Jeremy Morin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Boone Jenner, Brian Gibbons, Ryan Muray and Nathan Horton to various ailments.
PHT’s favorite meme is back in the rotation today as Columbus announced that forward Jeremy Morin will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body ailment.
With that, the Jackets now have Morin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Boone Jenner, Brian Gibbons, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Murray and Nathan Horton on the shelf with injuries.
Morin was hurt during Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Washington, exiting the game after just 7:11 of ice time. This could be related to an upper-body injury he suffered in Columbus’ last game prior to the All-Star break — Morin played just 4:38 in a loss to the Jets — but the club has yet to confirm injury specifics.
Regardless, losing Morin will hurt. While he hasn’t scored much (just three points in 17 games), he was the recipient of some pretty decent playing time — in a 3-1 win over Boston two weeks ago, Morin played 16:05 and finished with three shots on goal.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: Columbus was leading the league for man games lost to injury this season, per the latest (Jan. 20) report from website Man Games Lost.
The Columbus Blue Jackets’ season has been defined by injuries, so it seems grimly fitting that Sergei Bobrovsky suffered a lower-body injury on Wednesday that will likely keep him out of the All-Star Game. On top of that, the Blue Jackets also lost forward Jeremy Morin to an upper-body injury during Wednesday’s contest.
As bad as the situation is though, the Blue Jackets have also gotten some positive news on the injury front recently. Ryan Murray (knee) and center Artem Anisimov (torn triceps) might both be back next week, per the Columbus Dispatch.
Murray’s return will hopefully turn the page on what has been a difficult start to his NHL career. The 21-year-old defenseman was taken with the second overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but he wasn’t able to join Columbus following the 2012-13 lockout because he suffered a torn labrum in November 2012 while playing for the WHL Everett Silvertips. He instead made his debut last season and was limited to 66 contests. That was still a productive campaign compared to 2014-15 as he’s only played in four games and none since Nov. 1.
Anisimov has been absent for roughly two months due to his injury. The 26-year-old forward has two goals and six points in 16 contests.
With 45 games in the books, only Ryan Johansen and David Savard have managed to play in every contest with Columbus.