Longtime denizens of Nationwide Arena — those souls who have worn the Blue Jackets colors since the days of Bruce Gardiner, David Vyborny and Steve Heinze — might be having flashbacks to the inaugural season.
Not only are this year’s Blue Jackets teams defying expectations like that gang of 2000-01, they are rewriting the franchise record book with similar magic. The Blue Jackets uprooted a sloppy game last night against the Calgary Flames with a flurry of goals in the second period, scoring three times in 75 seconds to set a team record and winning 5-1 before 13,853 in Nationwide Arena.
Nick Foligno scored two of the goals 51 seconds apart, and Artem Anisimov followed 24 seconds later to push a 1-1 tie to a 4-1 lead.
“I’ve seen stuff like that happen,” Foligno said. “But I’ve never been a part of it.”
The win pushed the Blue Jackets’ point streak to 12 games, also a team record. They are 8-0-4 the past month, climbing to ninth place in the Western Conference.
“It’s impressive,” winger R.J. Umberger said. “I don’t care what team is the one doing it, that’s impressive.”
On Feb. 24, the Blue Jackets lost 1-0 in Chicago. They were 5-12-2 and 30th in the league, leaning desperately on their run of home games — 10 out of 12 — to salvage the season. From those 12 games, they earned 20 of 24 points.
“I think if you asked anybody in the hockey world, they probably never would have imagined this,” coach Todd Richards said. “The guys in there believe right now, and that’s a real powerful thing, when you believe.”
The game turned sloppy in the second period after Calgary’s Curtis Glencross scored at 4:24 to tie the score at 1. Richards didn’t like how the Blue Jackets were managing the puck and didn’t like how they were clubbing it around their zone. When Calgary responded in kind, the Jackets made them pay.
Foligno found an open lane through the left circle and shoveled the puck on net, scoring through a crowd at 13:05 of the second for a 2-1 Jackets lead. Only 51 seconds later, Foligno scored on a wrist shot from the high slot to make it 3-1.
Before the fans sat back down — while the cannon still echoed in the rafters — Anisimov stepped into an awful turnover by Calgary forward Lee Stempniak and scored on a slap shot.
“To be honest, I was worried the way the game was going,” Richards said. “They hit the post in our end, and then we came right down the ice and (Foligno) scores. From them on it was (pretty wild) for about two minutes, and then the game was over with.”
The flurry broke the previous mark set on Oct. 7, 2000 — the first game in team history — when Gardiner, Vyborny and Heinze scored in 1:46.
Richards was just as excited by two goals scored by his fourth line. Jared Boll scored at 16:56 of the first and Colton Gillies at 13:14 of the third.
“It’s great that we’ve been able to do this, but our job is not done,” Foligno said. “We have to prove we can play on the road now the rest of the way.”