Boone Jenner put his name in the Blue Jackets record book on Saturday night in Raleigh.
And he did so in buzzer-beating fashion.
With less than a second remaining in the second period at PNC Arena, Jenner tapped in a power play goal to give Columbus a 4-1 lead over the Hurricanes. It was his 30th goal of the season, blowing away his previous career high and becoming the fifth player in franchise history to have a 30-goal campaign.
The others? Geoff Sanderson, Rick Nash, Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen.
Nash hit the 30-goal plateau seven times in his Blue Jackets career and Sanderson did so twice, and if Jenner (who is still only 22 years old) continues at this pace, he might have a few more 30-plus goal seasons on his resume before it’s said and done.
Jenner, a second round pick of the Blue Jackets in 2011, had a decorated career in major junior hockey and, as captain of the Oshawa Generals, scored 45 goals in his final OHL season before turning pro and joining the Springfield Falcons.
He wasn’t in the American Hockey League for long, and during the Blue Jackets’ 2013-14 playoff run, Jenner was arguably their best forward in the six-game series against Pittsburgh.
This 30-goal season is particularly validating for Jenner after a frustrating and injury-riddled 2014-15 season (more than a few players were affected by this, unfortunately) limited him to only 31 games and nine goals.
The 30 goals have him tied for 13th in NHL goal scoring, and his name is in the mix with those of Jason Spezza, Patrice Bergeron, one behind James Neal and two behind Sidney Crosby. Jenner has more goals than Anze Kopitar, Phil Kessel, Taylor Hall, Zach Parise, TJ Oshie, Max Pacioretty and others.
As if there was any doubt, the Blue Jackets’ young alternate captain is shaping up to be quite the player.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella. “That’s something that is well-deserved. In this type of situation, I’m not looking at standings – I’m looking at contributions guys have made.
“He deserves that. It’s a nice milestone for him, and I’m really happy for him.”