Columbus Blue Jacket’s Season Finale

Luca Del Bel Belluz scoring his first goal in his first shift of his first NHL game
Photo: Hector Urcia | Inside The Rink

It was an action-packed night for this season’s final game for the Blue Jackets at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. Luca Del Belluz and Gavin Brindley both made their NHL debuts. Longtime play-by-play announcer Jeff Rimer called his last game after 20 years of calling games for the Jackets. Zach Werenski tied the Blue Jackets record for most points by a defenseman in a season. The Hurricanes scratched many of their top players to avoid injuries before the playoffs, but the Jackets were not much better off. They have been missing key players like Adam Fantilli, Kent Johnson, Patrik Laine, Yegor Chinakhov, and Boone Jenner. Even though the Blue Jackets won’t be making a playoff appearance this year, they made it a night to remember and gave the loyal fans something to cheer about after a tough season.

Before the game, head coach Pascal Vincent had Jeff Rimer read the starting lineup for the players. In his speech, Rimer said, “I want you to kick butt. I want to come away in my last game, but it’s not about me, I want a victory from you guys tonight.” He told defenseman Zach Werenski to get a four-point night and tie “the guy who used to be here, Seth Jones, for the most points by a defenseman on the hockey team, big game for you.” Newcomer Luca Del Bel Belluz seemed to take Rimer’s speech to heart, and in the first shift of his first NHL hockey game, he scored a goal with his first recorded shot. He joins an exclusive list including players like Mario Lemieux, Jonathan Toews, Rob Brind’amour, and Blue Jacket’s legend Rick Nash. Werenski also held up to Rimer’s words, did exactly what he said to do, and scored four points with two goals and two assists. Werenski’s first goal happened a few minutes after Luca scored, but Carolina quickly caught up with two of their own. James Malatesta finished the scoring for the period with his second goal for the Blue Jackets with one minute remaining.

The second period started with a penalty for the Blue Jackets after Jesper Fast ended up in the boards after a cross-check from Eric Gudbranson. The fans did not agree with the call and were quick to voice their opinion. Play went on, though, and the Jackets were able to kill off the penalty. About halfway through the period, the Hurricanes got another power play after David Jiricek was called for holding. Once again, the fans seemed to disagree, and unfortunately for them, Carolina scored 30 seconds into the power play to tie the game 3-3. A few minutes later, Columbus answered back when Johnny Gaudreau made a wrap-around shot to put them up by one.

Alexander Nylander continued his dominance in the NHL with his 11th goal in 23 games with the Blue Jackets to increase their lead to 5-3. Jet Greaves shut Carolina out for the third period and at one point he made five saves within 22 seconds. Former Blue Jacket and current Hurricane’s goalie Spencer Martin let in one last goal from Werenski to finish the game 6-3.

After the game ended, the faithful fans chanted, “CBJ! CBJ! CBJ!”. The players came out onto the ice and gave one last salute to them, and they deserved it. This year’s attendance averaged 17,016 making it the highest average since the 2003-04 season (17,369). The last few seasons have been tough for the Blue Jackets, but the fans show up every game. Pascal Vincent said the crowd tonight and the chants at the end make him “dream of giving them playoffs”. He also talked about the possible changes that could come with a new general manager and hopes to be here next year.

If it’s for 1 year, 10 years, as long as I’m here, they’re going to have the best out of me.

Pascal Vincent

220. All Things Playoffs CBJectively Speaking

On this episode, we discuss the current state of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Calder Cup Playoffs and the Cleveland Monsters continued run through the North Division, the vacant CBJ GM position, World Championship, and so much more!Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Thread, and Twitter: @CBJectivelyPodCheck us out on Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube: CBJectively SpeakingRate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen!Check out our website: www.cbjectivelyspeaking.comCheck out our merchandise: www.cbjectivelymerch.comJeremy's Stories:'s Stories:
  1. 220. All Things Playoffs
  2. 219. And I'm Laura!
  3. 218. Two Thorns, No Rose
  4. 217. Jeff Rimer, The G.O.A.T.
  5. 216. Future Reality TV Stars?

Lance Schrock

Credentialed Writer covering the Columbus Blue Jackets. Host of the BrewJackets Podcast.

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