Injuries have all but derailed Columbus’ 2014-15 season, but there’s still a glimmer of hope in the form of Blue Jackets rookie Marko Dano.
The 20-year-old Dano, drafted 27th overall by Columbus in 2013, has suited up in 23 games, but not once has he looked better than he did Sunday evening when he shook Carolina defender Michal Jordan with a deke that knocked him to the ice.
Midway through the second period, Dano came across the Hurricanes’ blueline and cut to the inside, causing Jordan, who was stride-for-stride with him, to pivot – or at least attempt to. As soon as Jordan made his move to keep position on Dano, the freshman pulled the puck the opposite direction and left Jordan watching. Dano then made a slick backhand pass to set up Scott Hartnell for a game-tying goal:
Hartnell makes no mistake on the finish, but his point at Dano is pretty telling, as is the glove tap and chuckle as the teammates skate to the bench to celebrate; this was Dano’s goal, Hartnell was just the one fortunate enough to be able to tap it in.
Watching Hartnell and Dano on the bench after the goal is good for a laugh, as well. Both are clearly watching the in-arena feed of the game and checking out Dano’s highlight-reel deke, and even Dano gives himself some appreciation with a subtle, “Ooo,” when he sees the clip.
There won’t be playoff hockey in Columbus this season, but getting to see Dano do his thing before he becomes a full-time Blue Jacket is a decent consolation prize.