The Columbus Blue Jackets were absolutely bludgeoned in their home opener (a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks), so perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that fans didn’t come out in droves for a Wednesday game against the similarly struggling Anaheim Ducks.
Still, the Blue Jackets must hope that their 3-1 win draws a few more fans, as the team won in front of the smallest home crowd to ever see the team play. The Associated Press passes along the total of 9,802 fans on hand, but who knows if that number was fudged a bit by typical attendance-inflating techniques?
Then again, maybe the Ducks are just box office poison in Columbus, as the previous franchise attendance low apparently was also against Anaheim. That game drew only 10,494 fans in October 2008.
Rick Nash scored two goals in this one (the game winner in the first period along with the clinching empty-netter) while Teemu Selanne scored the Ducks’ only goal, increasing his career total to 609. Steve Mason was strong in this one, stopping 31 out of 32 shots and kept the Ducks under control in third period.
The win was the good news, but beyond their attendance woes, the Blue Jackets got one other bit of bad news in this one: forward Ethan Moreau left the contest with a broken hand.
Despite all that doom and gloom, Columbus did hang tough and pull out an important win. Will that be enough to start bringing in more fans? We’ll just have to wait and see.