Columbus Blue Jackets mania has gripped Ohio’s capital city.
How long will hockey fever last, and how far can it spread?
Here are three things to know about the Buckeye State’s NHL team in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
1. The Blue Jackets lead their second-round series with Boston two games to one.
Matt Duchene had the game-winning goal on the power play Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena, where Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 36 of 37 shots en route to a 2-1 win.
Boone Jenner also lit the lamp for the home team in front of 19,337 fans.
2. The CBJ are all in.
Bobrovsky, the goalie who has been the face of the franchise since 2013, will be a free agent after the season, as will fellow Russian superstar Artemi Panarin, the team’s best goal scorer over the past two seasons.
Faced with the choice of trading them at the deadline or risking losing them for nothing but making a run in the playoffs, team management chose the latter.
Columbus also acquired Duchene in a series of late February moves designed to steel the team for a long spring.
3. It’s wide open.
Those choices appear prescient now as the Blue Jackets have already advanced farther into the playoffs than any time in club history.
Their stunning sweep of No. 1 seed Tampa Bay was just part of a chaotic first round that saw all four division winners knocked out, leaving a field full of eminently beatable teams vying for the most famous trophy in team sports.
The Blue Jackets can take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series with a win Thursday night in Game 4 back at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus.