When the 2013 season started, few people expected the Columbus Blue Jackets to be a playoff contender. The team began its first season without Rick Nash by losing four of their first five games and spent most of the first half of the season at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Then, a rash of injuries hit the team and sidelined James Wisniewski and Brandon Dubinsky for extended periods of time. Somehow, the Blue Jackets have suddenly become one of the hottest teams in the league in the past two weeks, with five straight wins and points in seven consecutive games. They now sit just three points out of playoff contention after a shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
The win over the Red Wings was the second in a back-to-back series and came on the heels of a 3-0 shutout on Saturday. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky continues to be the driving force behind the team’s success and has been in net for all five wins this month. He has improved his season record to 7-6-3 while lowering his goals against average to 2.30 and improving his save percentage to .919. The Blue Jackets ended up with points in all five of their games against the Red Wings this season and an overall 4-0-1 record. Those division wins may be crucial later in the season if Columbus is fighting for a playoff spot.
Besides Bobrovsky, Nick Foligno has been one of the best additions to the team and has four points in five games. Foligno came to the Blue Jackets after five seasons with the Ottawa Senators and has a goal and four assists in March, almost half of his total production for the season.
If the Blue Jackets can keep up this hot streak they may be a dark horse candidate for the playoffs. They’ve managed to play this well without some key players and should only get better when the rest of the team returns to full strength.