In case anyone needed to be reminded, Rick Nash showed Saturday night why he was in such demand at the NHL trade deadline.
He also showed why the Blue Jackets chose to keep him.
Nash scored two goals, including one shorthanded, and also had an assist as the Blue Jackets surprised yet another contending team, defeating the first-place Phoenix Coyotes 5-2 in Glendale, Ariz. The teams meet again on Tuesday in Columbus.
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“He was great tonight,” Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards told the Columbus Dispatch. “He had a huge impact in the game. Not only the goals he scored but a couple of the good defensive plays he made. He led the way for our team.”
It was the first time since Feb. 22 and 25, 2011 that the Blue Jackets won back-to-back games in regulation. They defeated Colorado 2-0 Thursday night.
As rare as that is, it’s hard to imagine it happening at all without Nash.
“Hopefully he’s going to stick around next year,” Blue Jackets center Derick Brassard told the Dispatch. “From what I see right now, he’s a guy who wants to play and show us the way.”
Mason makes it two straight
–G Steve Mason made 30 saves to defeat Phoenix 5-2 Saturday and earn two consecutive victories for the first time since he beat Nashville 4-0 and Phoenix 5-3 on Feb. 22 and 25 last year.
–The Jackets still are 9-20-4 on the road for the season, but at least they’ve improved recently. They’re 4-1-1 in their last six road games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I don’t know what it is. But I’m not complaining.” — RW Rick Nash, when asked by the Columbus Dispatch why he has 33 points and is a plus-11 in 32 career games against Phoenix.
–RW Rick Nash got his first three-point game of the season when he scored two goals and added an assist against Phoenix. He has six goals in his last seven games.
–RW Ryan Johansen was scratched Saturday night and was replaced on the fourth line by Aaron Johnson, normally a defenseman.
–LW R.J. Umberger earned his 300th career point when he got an assist on D Nikita Nikitin’s goal, which proved to be the game-winner.
–LW Kristian Huselius (lower body) is out until late February. –D Radek Martinek (concussion) is out for the season. –D Marc Methot (broken jaw) is out for the season. –RW Jared Boll (broken foot) is out four-to-six weeks.