As things stand right now, the Columbus Blue Jackets are in a position where a playoff spot is in reach for the first time since the 2008-09 season. But with the teams they’re battling for that eighth playoff spot having a game in hand over the Jackets, it won’t be easy.
The Blue Jackets have two games left on the season. Their tilt on Thursday, against the Dallas Stars, should prove to be one of the biggest. They’ll then conclude the season over the weekend against the Nashville Predators. Wins in each are obviously crucial.
But even with wins in both, the Blue Jackets will be maxing out at 55 points. The Detroit Red Wings could see their total at 56, which would give them the edge. The Minnesota Wild are still right on the cusp as well, currently tied with the Blue Jackets, though they have a game in hand over them as well.
With the way they’ve played of late, the Blue Jackets should win their next two. But even at 55 points, a playoff spot is no guarantee. If the Wings and the Wild both win out, the Blue Jackets will be going golfing once again, with nothing but moral victories to make them feel better.
But if they could get a little bit of help from other teams, both inside and out of contention, the Blue Jackets could very well be attending the postseason party. So just who should fans of the Blue Jackets be rooting for? Well, Columbus obviously. Wins in their next two are crucial.
The Los Angeles Kings play each of the Wild and Red Wings this week. Ironically enough, the Jackets will need to rely on a team that fleeced them in the Jeff Carter trade last season to help them reach the postseason. The Wings will also play the Preds and Stars before it’s all over. The Wild have a pair against two bottom feeders in the West, the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers.
Given their schedules down the stretch, the Wild have the most favorable chances of reaching the postseason. But if the Jackets can get at least one win out of the Kings, preferably against the Red Wings, they should easily be in on the postseason next week.