REALIGNMENT: Memorable Moments
A look at some of the Blue Jackets' most exciting games against their new Eastern Conference division rivals
EDITOR'S NOTE: As part of the NHL's newly-adopted realignment plan, the Blue Jackets are set to move to the Eastern Conference beginning next season. BlueJackets.com has a historical look back at some of the most memorable games in franchise history against the club's new division rivals.
ARENA: PNC ARENA
STANLEY CUPS: 1 (2006)
MEMORABLE CBJ MATCHUP: In the 2008-09 season as the Blue Jackets were marching toward their first Stanley Cup playoff appearance in franchise history, they made a swing through the Southeast and Raleigh, N.C. was one of the stops along their path. Steve Mason was well on his way to winning the Calder Trophy and put up a stellar performance in front of a sold-out crowd at PNC Arena, as Columbus handled Carolina in a 5-1 road win. Historical anecdote on that win: Mike Commodore, who won a Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006, scored the opening goal for Columbus.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
ARENA: PRUDENTIAL CENTER
STANLEY CUPS: 3 (1995, 2000, 2003)
CBJ All-Time vs. NJD: 3-6-1-1
MEMORABLE CBJ MATCHUP: One of the most wild and unpredictable games of the 2005-06 Blue Jackets season came on Dec. 11 at Nationwide Arena, when the Devils and a red-hot Martin Brodeur came to Columbus. Nikolay Zherdev was on fire that Sunday afternoon, scoring a pair of goals and helping the Blue Jackets force overtime in front of a rocking crowd. In overtime, it was none other than Bryan Berard - who made quite a name for himself offensively in his stint with the Jackets - leading a rush up the ice, cutting into the slot, and firing a wrist shot between Brodeur's legs for the game-winning goal, sending the Blue Jackets faithful into a frenzy.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
ARENA: NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM
STANLEY CUPS: 4 (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983)
CBJ All-Time vs. NYI: 9-1-1-3
MEMORABLE CBJ MATCHUP: The Blue Jackets stormed out of the gates to begin the 2010-11 season with a combination of timely scoring, solid goaltending and a "never say die" mentality each and every night. Columbus opened the season with a 14-6-0 record, and the 14th victory came in Uniondale, N.Y. on the same night the club unveiled its third sweater at a watch party back in central Ohio. RJ Umberger scored the tying goal in the third period, and Jake Voracek tallied the overtime winner -- extending the Blue Jackets' hot streak and continuing a miserable opening stretch for the Islanders.
NEW YORK RANGERS
ARENA: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
STANLEY CUPS: 4 (1928, 1933, 1940, 1994)
CBJ All-Time vs. NYR: 6-4-1-1
MEMORABLE CBJ MATCHUP: Perhaps the game which sticks out the most (aside from that crazy line brawl at MSG in the early days of the Blue Jackets franchise) was one of the craziest, back-and-forth games Columbus has seen. Jason Chimera, David Vyborny and Jody Shelley - yes, Jody scored - tallied goals in the first period as the Blue Jackets swarmed the Rangers all over the ice, but the veteran Rangers club would bounce back. New York tied the game at 3-3, but not before Rick Nash would score one of his finest goals. He got a perfect lead pass from Bryan Berard at the offensive blue line, split two defensemen and dangled his way to the game-winning goal with six minutes remaining.
For your viewing pleasure, let's re-live Jody Shelley scoring a pretty sweet goal against the Rangers.
ARENA: WELLS FARGO CENTER
STANLEY CUPS: 2 (1974, 1975)
CBJ All-Time vs. PHI: 2-6-3-0
MEMORABLE CBJ MATCHUP: The Flyers have generally had the upperhand in this all-time series, but one of the highlights from a Blue Jackets' perspective took place on Dec. 27, 2008, as Columbus started to make its mid-to-late season push for a playoff berth. Philadelphia came into game playing very well, but the Blue Jackets started fast on a Jan Hejda goal less than two minutes into the game. Manny Malhotra and Andrew Murray added goals for Columbus in what was a 3-0 shutout victory for Steve Mason -- one of 10 clean sheets in his record-setting rookie season. It was a grinding, physical affair that the Blue Jackets dominated from start to finish, and began their march to the postseason in earnest when the calendar turned to 2009.
Here's Steve Mason robbing Claude Giroux and Simon Gagne with back-to-back stops in that game:
ARENA: CONSOL ENERGY CENTER
STANLEY CUPS: 3 (1991, 1992, 2009)
CBJ All-Time vs. PIT: 5-6-0-3
MEMORABLE CBJ MATCHUP: This one's easy. In one of the most unforgettable weeks in Blue Jackets history, the team picked up wins against the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and did so in thrilling fashion against the Penguins -- who would eventually go on to win the Stanley Cup a few months later. A standing-room only crowd of 19,000-plus was in the game right from the get-go and the Blue Jackets opened the scoring on a Kristian Huselius goal. With a 3-0 lead in the third period, things seemed in control...but the Penguins put their rally caps on. Pittsburgh scored three times in a five-minute span to force extra time, and Huselius scored the game-winner in the shootout to give the Blue Jackets a 4-3 win.
ARENA: VERIZON CENTER
STANLEY CUPS: 0
CBJ All-Time vs. WSH: 4-7-1-3
MEMORABLE CBJ MATCHUP: In the 2008-09 season, the Blue Jackets played some of their best hockey against the Washington Capitals. They out-scored the Capitals by a 6-0 aggregate in the two-game set and saw Steve Mason pitch a pair of shutouts -- but the most impressive (and memorable) of the two came Jan. 9, 2009 at Verizon Center in the nation's capital. The Blue Jackets weren't even sure Mason could play in the game, and they would later find out he was battling mononucelosis, but he put on quite a show and befuddled a Capitals club that threw everything it had at him. Mason made 45 saves - including 12 on Alex Ovechkin - as Columbus escaped with a 3-0 win.