So, uh, that happened.
No, it really did.
With the league's top team coming to town - a team without a regulation loss in its first 10 games - the Blue Jackets said this morning that they'd have to be "at their best" tonight.
Does a franchise-record offensive outburst qualify? Asking for a friend.
The Blue Jackets scored three times in the first period, five times in the second period and twice more in the third en route to a 10-0 win (yes, that's correct) over the Montreal Canadiens at Nationwide Arena. Not only were the Blue Jackets fast, aggressive and relentless, but they were not content to sit on their early lead and they continued to play their game to the final whistle.
And how about the power play? We'll touch on that in a minute.
Alexander Wennberg set a career-high with four assists. Nick Foligno scored twice, Cam Atkinson scored a pair of power play goals and, at the other end, the Blue Jackets were tidy and efficient in their own zone. Sergei Bobrovsky played well but was not under considerable duress for any length of time, but in the process, recorded a 30-save shutout - his third clean sheet of the season.
Here's what we learned from a convincing win:
1. Wenn it's your night: Wennberg has quietly been one of the Blue Jackets' most effective offensive players so far this season. That distinction, however, is in danger after his performance tonight. The 22-year-old playmaker tallied four assists, three of those on the power play, and anchored the team's No. 1 line which has quickly become its go-to line. Foligno led the way with a three-point night (two goals, one assist) and Brandon Saad had an assist of his own, making that trio the most lethal on the Columbus side. He drew a double-minor high-sticking penalty in the second period, which led to two Blue Jackets power play goals courtesy of Foligno and Scott Hartnell. Wennberg managed to play under 14 minutes, as well, keeping his legs fresh for tomorrow night in St. Louis.
Video: MTL@CBJ: Atkinson buries feed from Foligno for PPG
2. Power move: Superlatives are becoming a real thing for this Blue Jackets power play. They were a remarkable 4-for-5 in this game and, as mentioned above, tallied on both ends of a four-minute advantage in the second period. They moved the puck quickly and moved themselves quickly, which caused all sorts of problems for the Canadiens' penalty killers. With bodies in motion and a barrage of pucks headed toward Al Montoya's net, it spelled regular trouble for Montreal. Atkinson (2x), Foligno and Hartnell recorded power play goals for the Blue Jackets, who are operating at 44 percent on the man advantage through nine games - and, even more insane, they are 64.3 percent on home ice.
Video: MTL@CBJ: Foligno slots home goal on the power play
3. Yes, he Cam: Atkinson has done nothing but put up 20-goal seasons since he broke into the NHL, but hasn't found the net at a familiar pace so far in 2016-17. Hopefully, this kind of night is one that can get him going, because the Blue Jackets are going to need him to produce if they're to have success. He scored twice tonight, the first coming off a dazzling pass from Foligno that opened the scoring way back in the first period. The second was a "right place, right time" rebound after Sam Gagner got the puck on net, and Atkinson was camped at the right post to slam the rebound past Montoya on the backhand. Through nine games, he's getting back on track with seven points (four goals, three assists) and 27 shots on goal. He led all players with seven shots in tonight's game.