April 10-16, 2019 -- Columbus wins its first playoff round by sweeping Tampa Bay: On paper, it seemed like a historic mismatch. Tampa Bay romped its way through the regular season, tying an NHL record with 62 victories while leading the NHL in scoring, power-play percentage and penalty kill percentage. Columbus, meanwhile, appeared to be sputtering its way out of the playoffs before winning seven of its last eight to clinch a postseason berth. It was billed as hockey's version of David and Goliath, and it appeared to be going to script when the Lightning took a 3-0 lead in the first period of Game 1. But Sergei Bobrovsky made a huge save to keep it that way, and Columbus battled back to take a 4-3 win. From there, the tight checking, physical Blue Jackets -- boosted by a strong power play, excellent goaltending and an opportunistic offense -- dominated Game 2 by a 5-1 score, then returned home to gut out a Game 3 win by a 3-1 score. Game 4 was nothing short of deafening in Nationwide Arena, with Columbus going up 2-0 early, taking a 4-3 lead on Oliver Bjorkstrand's goal late in the second and then clinching it with a trio of empty-netters in the third. Finally, a form of jubilation that had escaped the franchise for its history was real.
June 20, 2017 -- Tortorella, Foligno, Bobrovsky clean up at NHL Awards: The NHL is a league that prizes its history, and one of the best ways to see which teams are relevant and have superstar potential are the ones that clean up each year at the NHL Awards Show. In 2017, it was the Blue Jackets who did so. Head coach John Tortorella was chosen as the winner of the Jack Adams Award, given to the league's top coach, after piloting the team to a franchise record in points, while Sergei Bobrovksy won his second Vezina Trophy as the league's best goalie. In addition, captain Nick Foligno swept the two awards the league gave out for leadership, winning the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and Mark Messier Leadership Award. On the biggest stage, it was validation for a historic season for the Blue Jackets.
April 19, 2014 -- Matt Calvert's overtime winner nets Columbus its first-ever playoff win: For more than a decade, Blue Jackets fans yearned for a postseason win. They got their first taste of playoff action in 2009, but despite a dramatic Game 4, the team took a hard-fought loss to end a sweep. The Blue Jackets came oh-so-close in Game 1 in 2014 in Pittsburgh, dropping a close 4-3 final, before a wild Game 2 in the Steel City. The Penguins led 2-0 and 3-1 in the first, but Columbus chipped away before Jack Johnson tied the game in the third period. Finally, after an excruciating first overtime, Calvert banged home his own 1:10 into the second OT before being mobbed by his teammates near the blue line after having clinched the first-ever franchise playoff win.
March 14, 2013 -- The Blue Jackets announce a move to the Eastern Conference: For the first 12 seasons of Blue Jackets hockey, being a Columbus fan meant late nights when it came to road games. With the team in the Western Conference, just one conference foe -- rival Detroit -- was located in the Eastern time zone, which meant the majority of road games started at 8 p.m. at the earliest, with many kicking off at 10 p.m. Even worse, with an unbalanced schedule in the NHL, there was no guarantee the team would visit Eastern Conference teams each season, with trips to nearby Pittsburgh and Buffalo -- as well as historic venues like Toronto -- were few and far between. Simply put, it was harder for fans to watch, but with the league realigned from a six-division format to a four-division setup in the spring of 2013, Columbus got its wish with a move to the East. Starting in 2013-14, the Blue Jackets made the move, meaning better start times and closer trips for fans and players alike. It also begat new rivalries and one of the more successful stretches in franchise history.
Nov. 29, 2016-Jan. 3, 2017 -- Columbus wins 16 straight games to near an NHL record: With John Tortorella entering his first full season as the Blue Jackets coach, no one knew what to expect of the team in the fall of 2016. Things were off to a pretty good start when a shootout loss at Florida on Nov. 26 moved the team to 11-5-4. Then the winning started -- one at home vs. Tampa Bay, back-to-back victories at Colorado and Arizona, a return win in Columbus vs. the Coyotes and victories over Detroit and the New York Islanders. Then there was a historic sweep of Western Canada with wins over Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver -- Tortorella's 500th in the NHL -- and from there the victories just kept coming, eventually reaching 15 with a win over Minnesota (which had won 12 in a row itself) on New Year's Eve and 16 on Jan. 3 vs. Edmonton. Finally, Washington ended the run Jan. 5, one short of tying the NHL record, but the streak did announce Columbus as contenders and paced a season with a franchise-record 50 wins.
April 26, 2017 -- Zach Werenski takes a puck to the face, gets memorialized on a T-shirt: If there's one quality prized above all others in hockey, it might be toughness. As a rookie, Werenski showed that in spades in his first playoff series of 2017 vs. Pittsburgh. With Columbus down 2-0 in the series but up 3-2 the second period of Game 3 at home, a shot by Phil Kessel caught Werenski in the face, and blood immediately started covering the ice. No whistle was blown, unfortunately, and the Penguins scored the tying goal before he could get to the bench. It's playoff hockey, though, so Werenski later returned to the game with a black eye, stitches in his face, cotton bulging from his nose, and a face shield, much to the delight of the Nationwide Arena crowd. Columbus lost the game, but Werenski's postgame black-and-blue selfie has become part of CBJ lore -- so much so that fan Jay Shawberry produced T-shirts of the image, which were later modeled by both Werenski and grinning captain Nick Foligno.
April 23, 2014 -- Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno win Game 4 vs. Pittsburgh: A wild, up-and-down 2014 playoff series vs. Pittsburgh threatened to be pushed to the brink when Columbus fell in an early 3-0 hole, down two games to one, in Game 4. The Blue Jackets chipped away, but time seemed to be against them, though, until what appeared to be a simple dump into the zone in the final minute set off chaos. Marc-Andre Fleury went behind his net to play the puck but accidentally deflected it back in front of the net, where Dubinsky won the race to it and scored to tie the game at 3 with 22.5 seconds to go. That roar in Nationwide Arena was pure pandemonium, but it was nothing compared to Foligno's winner in overtime. Most Jackets fans can still see it in their brain -- James Wisniewski's diving pass breakup, RJ Umberger's spinning pass, and then Foligno's long-range shot past Fleury and subsequent slide up the boards on two knees before being mobbed by teammates.
July 23, 2012 -- The Rick Nash trade ends an era, but leads to a reboot and a return: For more than a decade, there was no argument who was Mr. Blue Jacket on the ice. Columbus moved up to take Rick Nash with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, and even considering the outsized expectations on the young Canadian's back, it's fair to say he delivered. He won the Rocket Richard Trophy with an NHL-best 41 goals in 2004, then led the team to its first playoff berth in 2009. But by 2012, the on-ice product was in a malaise, and a reset seemed like the best course of action. Finally, in the summer, GM Scott Howson pulled the trigger, sending Nash to the New York Rangers for a bevy of players and a first-round pick. There were ups and downs for Nash after the trade -- including a surprisingly acrimonious first game back in Columbus -- and the Blue Jackets as well, but Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky became key pieces of the team that made the playoffs in 2014. Eventually, Nash considered an on-ice return to Columbus only to see injury rule it out, but he was honored before a game vs. the Rangers in January 2019 after announcing his retirement and this summer joined the front office, finally coming full circle in his career.
Nov. 4, 2016 -- Columbus earns an epic 10-0 victory over Montreal: An early sign that the 2016-17 Blue Jackets might be different than any team that came before was displayed a month into the campaign on a nondescript Friday night against what had been a 9-0-1 Canadiens team. There was no score 10 minutes into the game, but quickly it was 3-0 as Cam Atkinson scored on the power play followed by tallies by Seth Jones and David Savard. The avalanche came in the second, then, as Montreal couldn't stay out of the box. Power-play goals by Atkinson, Nick Foligno and Scott Hartnell blew the game open at 6-0 at 11:53, and with Montreal facing the second night of a back-to-back a day later, backup goalie Al Montoya was left in to absorb the punishment. Foligno and Josh Anderson made it 8-0 by the end of the second, then Hartnell and Anderson each tallied again in the third in the largest win in franchise history.
Oct. 21, 2015 -- Blue Jackets hire John Tortorella as head coach: After a tough start to the 2015-16 season, the Blue Jackets realized a change in management had to occur. Luckily enough, one of the top head coaches in NHL history was available, and John Tortorella took the job. It proved to be a turning point for the franchise, as Tortorella helped steady the ship and install a culture that season that paid off in spades a year later with the most points in franchise history. That kicked off a three-year stretch of postseason appearances, and Tortorella has become the winningest head coach in Blue Jackets history and led the team to its first-ever playoff series victory last season. To many, he's become an icon in the franchise's annals, not just for his work behind the bench but his stature in the community.
April 15, 2018 -- Matt Calvert's overtime winner in Game 2 at Washington: Calvert certainly had a knack for postseason dramatics -- maybe it was competitive spirit, or his gritty game, the translated well to playoff hockey -- and he tallied the second extra-time winner of his career in 2018 to give Columbus its first-ever 2-0 playoff series lead. Much like in Game 2 vs. Pittsburgh in 2014, the Blue Jackets rallied from a 3-1 deficit and even took a 4-3 lead before Washington tied the game in the third. But at 12:22 of the OT frame, Calvert got the net and flipped the rebound of Zach Werenski's shot past Braden Holtby for a second straight overtime win.
Oct. 24, 2012 -- John Davidson takes over as president of hockey operations: There wasn't a lot of good hockey-related news in the fall of 2012 as the NHL went through a lockout, but fans in Columbus did get a positive delivery late in October when Davidson was hired to a newly created position to oversee the hockey department of the franchise. Coming off a successful rebuild in St. Louis and boasting a patient "brick-by-brick" philosophy, Davidson came to Columbus as one of the most respected figures in the game, and when the sport returned to the ice, he proved it. Quickly, he made the difficult decision to part ways with general manager Scott Howson, hiring Jarmo Kekalainen, and the team missed the playoffs that season by a tiebreaker before returning to the postseason a year later and earning three more playoff trips before Davidson's departure to New York this past summer.
April 12, 2018 -- Artemi Panarin's overtime goal wins Game 1 at Washington: The Blue Jackets had never led a playoff series until a wild opening game in 2018 came to an end with a flash of skill. Washington opened the game with a pair of goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov to take a 2-0 lead, but Alexander Wennberg and Thomas Vanek replied to tie it. Again, the Caps took the lead in the third, but Seth Jones' power-play marker with 4:26 to go forced overtime in a 3-3 game. Then, 6:02 into the extra period, it was over. Panarin took the puck at the red line, raced in along the left wing, got past Dmitri Orlov and in one motion moved the back from backhand to forehand for a perfect finish that Braden Holtby never saw coming.
Nov. 18, 2016 -- Matt Calvert gets hit with a slap shot, then scores the winner vs. New York: There may be no more Matt Calvert tale than this one. It was a random November night, early in the year, but the gritty winger's toughness was on full display against the Rangers. He put his body on the line to block a shot by Nick Holden in the second period and immediately crumpled to the ice when it hit him right in the face, covering the ice with blood. Calvert left with a towel to his face, but it wasn't enough to keep him down, as he returned to the game with his head wrapped in bandages. Then, with 8:25 to go, he won the game, breaking a 2-2 tie by streaking down the right wing shorthanded and firing a wrist shot past Henrik Lundqvist.
April 27, 2019 -- Matt Duchene's overtime winner knots the series at Boston: Coming off a sweep of top-seeded Tampa Bay in the first round, the Blue Jackets lost their first-ever conference semifinal game at Boston in 2019 on an overtime goal, and Game 2 also went to extra time tied at 2 thanks to a pair of goals from Artemi Panarin. The first overtime found no winner, so for the second time in its playoff history, double overtime beckoned for the Blue Jackets. After earning the rare OT penalty, the Blue Jackets took advantage, as Matt Duchene tallied from in front past Tuukka Rask 3:42 into the second overtime to knot the series at 1 and set off a raucous celebration on the TD Garden ice.
Jan. 25, 2015 -- Columbus hosts the NHL All-Star Game and its festivities: For one weekend, you could be sitting in a restaurant storefront in the Short North and see a who's who of hockey players, coaches, broadcasters and other celebrities walk by. The city of Columbus was picked to host the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend, only to see it go by the wayside because of a lockout, so the weekend didn't come until 2015. When it did, Columbus was the center of the hockey universe, from a massive fanfest at the downtown convention center to an outdoor winter park that turned the city into a festive wonderland. Highlights of the weekend included a live All-Star Game draft, a skills competition featuring Ryan Johansen donning an Ohio State football jersey, and the game itself, which set a new record for cannon blasts. When it was all said and done, no one could argue the city hadn't put its best foot forward in front of the hockey world.
Jan. 6, 2016 -- Blue Jackets acquire Seth Jones: It was the rare hockey trade that worked for everyone when Columbus acquired Jones for Ryan Johansen. Since then, Jones has become the premier blueliner his pedigree suggested, while Johansen helped Nashville to the Stanley Cup Final.
June 24, 2016 -- Columbus drafts Pierre-Luc Dubois at No. 3 overall: Columbus finished with the fourth worst record in 2015-16, but the team caught a break, the hockey world thought, when the Blue Jackets earned the No. 3 spot in the draft lottery. It was thought to be a three-player draft, with Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi expected to lead the class. But Columbus went off the board when it took Dubois, and the Quebec native has repaid that faith by becoming one of the top young centers in the league.
Nov. 11, 2017 and Nov. 14, 2017 -- The top cop on the force: Sergei Bobrovsky made perhaps the best save in franchise history in the first game, then nearly topped it in the second. In the first of those games vs. Detroit, his side-to-side 2-on-0 stop on Andreas Athanasiou with his right pad in overtime is still the gold standard, but his post-to-post blocker denial of Montreal's Jacob de la Rose three nights later was also quite a head turner.
March 30, 2019 -- Cam nets No. 41: Cam Atkinson has scored his fair share of goals in his Blue Jackets career, but none had the historic value of his 41st goal of the 2018-19 season scored in Nashville. That allowed him to tie Rick Nash for the team record for goals in a season, and while Atkinson couldn't get to No. 42, he'll sit in the records books for his impressive 2019 campaign.
March 9, 2013 -- The point: If there's one thing the Blue Jackets organization lacked for a while, it's swagger, but it arrived in full force with one motion by Vinny Prospal. With the Blue Jackets up late on the Wings in Detroit by a 3-0 score, Prospal and Justin Abdelkader got into it, and as he skated away, Prospal pointed to the scoreboard. The Blue Jackets soon made a late sprint to miss the playoffs by a point, and it sure looked like the team finally had an attitude about it.