It will be a win-or-go-home situation for the Columbus Blue Jackets when they take the ice at Nationwide Arena in Columbus tonight to face the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
But rather than pressing, the Blue Jackets are embracing the moment, as it is for them, an opportunity to once again display their ability to overcome adversity, just as they did over the final weeks of the regular season to clinch the 16th and last playoff spot.
“This is going to allow us to showcase that we’re a team that’s grown and we’re going to have to, obviously, with the situation we’re in,” captain Nick Foligno said after a 4-3 loss in Game 5 in Boston over the weekend. “I’m expecting everyone’s best and it should be a great atmosphere.
“There’s just no quit in this room. I’m really proud of the guys for fighting to get back, but you can’t take moral victories this time of year. We’re looking forward to Game 6, where we can improve upon our game, and obviously, just get back in front of our fans, get back to work and know that it’s got to be our best effort of the series.”
After Game 3 in the best-of-seven series, the Blue Jackets held a 2-1 lead, but they have lost two straight, including the first home setback this postseason.
However, Foligno is not surprised by the way Boston responded to the early adversity against the Blue Jackets.
“That’s what this series is going to be,” Foligno said. “We knew that, so we’ve just got to make sure we sharpen up and get ready for Game 6.”
Between their lone tally in Game 4 and the first goal in Game 5, the Blue Jackets went more than 100 minutes without a score, but it was not for a lack of trying.
The Blue Jackets generated several chances on Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask. However, whether it was a shot off the post or a redirection that was not high enough to avoid being smothered by the right leg pad from a lunging Rask, Columbus just could not get the game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation.
But to Foligno and the Blue Jackets, none of that matters now, not with the season and months of work on the line in front of the home fans.
“I’m not going to dwell on it because you just can’t, so we’re just going to move forward,” Foligno said. “It is what it is now at this point, so we’ve just got to get ready to win in Game 6. We would’ve had to win it anyway, so honestly, you can sit and think about what went on in this game, but we know we can do some things better.
“They got some opportunities off some things we did, and we’ll just get ready to be better in Game 6. This is a series. This is what it is. This is what we expected. Obviously, we would’ve liked to make it a little easier on ourselves, but it’s the way it’s gone, so we’ve got to go home and worry about winning a big game at home, and then, get back here.”