With the National Hockey League trade deadline approaching on Monday and rumors swirling, Friday could have been the last time Blue Jackets’ captain Rick Nash suited up in a Blue Jackets’ sweater at Nationwide Arena.
It was a game that Nash and the rest of his teammates would probably like to forget just as soon.
The Avalanche used a shutout from goalie Semyon Varlamov to cruise to a 5-0 victory against the Blue Jackets. Varlamov got scoring help from wingers David Jones, Steve Downie, Gabriel Landeskog, and defenseman Matt Hunwick, as he posted his third shutout of the season.
“I thought we had a good first two periods,” Nash said. “Their goalie made some great saves. I think it easily could have been 2-2 after two periods.”
The teams traded chances in the first frame, but the period would end with the Avalanche taking a 1-0 lead at 19:34 after Jones beat Blue Jackets’ goalie Steve Mason low to the blocker side on a two-on-one break.
The scoring chance for the Avalanche came after Blue Jackets’ center Colton Gillies fired a shot from the slot that beat Varlamov but hit the crossbar and bounced out to Jones, who took off down the wing.
Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards acknowledged the impact that play had on his team and the rest of the game.
“I don’t think we ever got our game back,” he said.
Landeskog widened the margin for the Avalanche to 2-0 in the second period after taking a feed from Downie and putting a slap shot over Mason’s glove in to the top corner of the net.
The Blue Jackets’ best chance of the period came after center Derick Brassard entered the zone with speed, beat a defender to the outside and sent a cross-ice feed over to Nash. An outstretched Varlamov got enough of Nash’s shot with his blocker to keep it out of the net.
The Avalanche controlled play for the rest of the game as Downie, Jones and Hunwick all tallied in the third period.
Blue Jackets’ center Mark Letestu echoed his captain’s sentiments about the game.
“For the most part, I thought we played well,” he said.
There was no love lost between Blue Jackets’ fans and former center Jeff Carter who was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Before the game began, the trade was announced to fans who cheered loudly when Carter’s name was mentioned. Carter had long been rumored to be unhappy with the organization after arriving last summer from the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Blue Jackets received a first-round pick and defenseman Jack Johnson from the Kings in exchange for Carter.
Johnson, who attended the University of Michigan, arrived midway through the third period and received a standing ovation from the 16,925 in attendance.
“(Johnson) brings all the tools to the ice,” Nash said. “He’s one of the best skaters in the league.”
The Blue Jackets travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., Sunday to take on the Penguins.