Blue Jackets At The Head Of The Log Jam Out West
As the hockey season winds down, some unfathomable things have already taken place. First thing, the Toronto Maple Leafs have clinched a playoff birth. Their first since 2004. Now could it be the Blue Jackets turn to do the same?
The Blue Jackets are currently holding on to the eighth spot out west, with 51 points and 2 games at hand.
Hard to imagine that a team that was the prototypical doormat as come this far in only a matter of a year. With the face of the franchise Rick Nash being dealt to the Rangers in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, and Tim Erixon. Also making a deal with the Flyers in an under the radar move at the time acquiring goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Columbus seemed poised in position to be at least somewhat decent to watch, certainly not a playoff team. Also acquiring another Ranger in Marion Gaborik at the deadline.
By now it's no secret how they got here. With great goaltending from Bobrovsky, timely goals, and a renewed defense; we could be seeing a team that can be not only a smash mouth team, but one that can you can really feel good about.
Bobrovsky hasn't been the only bright spot for CBJ either. Vinny Prospal has been their brightest spot offensively(29P 12P 17A), and has been clutch to boot. Anisimov himself has chipped in to the tune of 11 goals, and Fedor Tyutin has provided some offesnive punch from the point to the tune of 22 points. While the young Ryan Johansen still developing his offensive game and Jack Johnson picking up on the blue line as well.
With a three point lead over both the Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars, they're in control of their own destiny. One of those games being a must win with those very same Dallas Stars tonight, and then finishing up with Nashville on Saturday. Even a minor slip up against either team should start a nail biter to the finish. In a nutshell, all they need to do is take both of these games and they're off to their first playoff series since their first and only appearance in 2009.