Minutes prior to Game 5, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced their captain Nick Foligno will not play in Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is out with a lower-body injury.
As they were on Tuesday, Columbus is in a must-win situation to extend its season, as they are down 3-1 in the first-round series.
Foligno is a significant loss for the Blue Jackets. In addition to his leadership, Columbus will be without his goal-scoring prowess in the biggest game of the year. Foligno scored 26 goals and 51 points in 79 games this season. In the first four games of this first-round series, he has 2 assists.
In addition to Foligno, Columbus will also be without rookie sensation Zach Werenski. Even at 19 years old, the defenseman is arguably the Blue Jackets’ best player. He took a puck to the face during Game 3 and suffered a facial fracture. He has been ruled out for the season.
The Blue Jackets, though, were able to win on Tuesday in Game 4 without Werenski. Columbus scored the first 3 goals of that game and carried that momentum to a 5-4 victory.
Columbus has never won a postseason series in the franchise’s 16-year history. During that time, the Blue Jackets have only advanced to the playoffs three times, and they have just three postseason victories. Tuesday’s win was the team’s first regulation victory in the playoffs.