Thursday, March 21 by The Hockey Daily
There are about nine teams in the Western Conference that certainly care about the Columbus Blue Jackets right now. Perennial losers they may be but CBJ are not letting their past stop them from making a serious push for the playoffs this season. Since February 26 the Jackets have gone 6-0-5, earning points in eleven straight games.
The streak has allowed the Jackets to move from last place in the West to only two points out of a playoff spot. It’s very difficult to jump teams in the standings, but the Jackets have managed to jump five. With Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver all struggling the Jackets can jump a few more if they continue to play well.
Making the playoffs is the goal. Columbus want to make the playoffs and they believe in their group this year. Jackets forward Mark Letestu told The Globe And Mail, “We expect to be in the playoff picture. We expect to be in the mix come the end.” The Blue Jackets franchise has never won a playoff game. They have only qualified for the post season once. In 2008-09 CBJ were swept in the first round by the Detroit Red Wings.
Balanced scoring makes a team tough to play against. The Blue Jackets have thirteen forwards with at least one goal this season. They are getting contributions from everyone. Sometimes it’s almost a blessing to play a team with one great line of elite players. At least you know where to focus all your defensive attention against that opponent. The Jackets are stacked with hard working role player types that play strong defensively and cash in on a few opportunities a night. It’s a real team effort in Columbus.
Sergei Bobrovsky. Another ex-Flyer playing well somewhere else this season. Bobrovsky has been the backbone of the Blue Jackets throughout their streak. He boasts a remarkable 2.05 GAA and 0.931 SV% in his first year as the Jackets starter. With Bob playing this well the Jackets can continue to grow in confidence, something they have lacked in recent seasons.
The Columbus Blue Jackets look to continue their great run when Western Conference bottom feeders the Calgary Flames stroll into town on March 22. No game is an easy win in the NHL, but with all the trade speculation surrounding the Flames they could be distracted and ripe for the picking. The key for Columbus will be to just play their game and not worry about any of the off ice stuff. If they do so, they have a great chance to extend their streak to twelve games.