If the Columbus Blue Jackets make the playoffs, chances are they are going to be the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference. They’ll most likely have to face the Boston Bruins, who have proved over the last few weeks that they are capable of looking unstoppable. The Blue Jackets would be the far less talented team, but there is a way that they could come out on top of that first-round series.
That way is paved by Sergei Bobrovsky.
After missing some time with the flu, Bobrovsky returned on Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche. He was stellar in net, but two bad bounces caused an overtime loss. On Thursday night, Bobrovsky got a little bit of redemption.
The Blue Jackets took on Bobrovsky’s former team, the Philadelphia Flyers, and ironically faced a goalie who used to don a Blue Jackets uniform in Steve Mason. The Blue Jackets were outplayed at times, and you could tell by the body language on the Flyers’ bench that they were getting frustrated. Every chance they had was denied by Bobrovsky.
When the game was over, Bobrovsky had 37 saves and the Blue Jackets are now that much closer to making the postseason for the only the second time in franchise history.
The Blue Jackets have only scored more than two goals twice in their last 10 games, but with Bobrovsky between the pipes, they should be able to salvage 1-0 and 2-1 victories. The Los Angeles Kings won the cup in 2012 thanks to goaltender Jonathan Quick, and I’m not saying that the Blue Jackets have the personnel to make that deep of a run, but they can definitely turn some heads in the postseason.
The No. 8-seed over No. 1-seed upset is far more common in the NHL than in the NBA because a hot goaltender can steal a series. Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy last year as the league’s best goaltender and has once again proven that he is in an elite field.
I would be surprised if the Blue Jackets didn’t find themselves in the playoffs when it’s all said and done, but it may be the rest of the league who’s surprised if Bobrovsky continues to play as well as he has of late.