The Columbus Blue Jackets are red hot. I never thought I would ever utter those words in my life but what else can I say? The Blue Jackets shootout-win tonight was against the last place team in the Eastern Conference, the Buffalo Sabres. The 4-3 victory has now extended the Blue Jackets’ winning streak to six games and they are now four games over the .500 mark.
Now I know what you are probably asking. Just how are the Blue Jackets continuously winning games these games? Well, the Blue Jackets may not have the names that are currently popular throughout the NHL, but they should be soon. Let me introduce you to them.
The Blue Jackets are being lead in goals by young 21-year-old Ryan Johansen with 18 to go along with his 18 assists, and scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to seal the deal against the Sabres tonight.
But as you know, goal scoring is only one major part of a team. You also need leadership, and the Blue Jackets have that in ex-New York Ranger Brandon Dubinsky. Not only is he providing leadership on and off the ice, but he is putting up impressive numbers with 10 goals and 22 assists, currently second behind Johansen in team points.
Another major part of a team is defense and goaltending. The Blue Jackets are only in the middle of the pack when it comes to team defense, which was shown tonight as the Blue Jackets’ defense let them down late in the game by surrendering a goal in the closing seconds to the Sabres. The goal tied the game at three and forced overtime. At the position of goaltender however, the Blue Jackets have last years’ Vezina Trophy winner in Sergei Bobrovsky, so I think they are all set in that department. A team also needs depth, especially scoring depth, and the Blue Jackets currently have six players in double-digit goals scored, and that is not including two of the three goal scorers for the Blue Jackets tonight in Buffalo.
As for the Sabres, there is not much to say except that they are rebuilding. They are last in the Eastern Conference with only 32 points on the season.
All in all, the Blue Jackets might not be a Stanley Cup contender this season but with their youth and depth at forward plus a top notch goaltender, they should keep improving as this season progresses, and who knows. With everyone so bunched up in points, I do not think it is entirely out of the realm of possibility that the Blue Jackets could make the playoffs this season. If not this year, then definitely look for the Blue Jackets next season.