That is the current record of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which includes a 4-0 sweep of the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning. Earlier tonight, the Blue Jackets held on for a 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins for a 2-1 series lead in the second round of the playoffs in front of–and with the support of–a thunderous home crowd of around 20,000 at Nationwide Arena.
A great scene.
Never trailing in Game 3 tonight, the Blue Jackets were opportunistic offensively and determined defensively. It’s quite a relief when one of the best goalies in the NHL, Sergei Bobrovsky (“Bob”), is an absolute beast between the pipes. His mobility has been on full display this postseason.
Blue Jackets Boone Jenner opened up scoring with 1:23 left in the first period. Matt Duchene doubled the lead for Columbus with 7:18 remaining in the second period and Boston’s Jake DeBrusk countered by the skin of his teeth (and an official video review) with 40 seconds left in the second period.
Surviving an offensive barrage by Boston for the full 20 minutes of the third period, Mr. BOBrovsky helped Columbus take the 2-1 series lead.
To any objective NHL fan and analyst, Columbus has been one of the (if not the) best team in this year’s playoffs thus far. With Artemi Panarin (the “Bread Man”) always looking for his shot and Sergei Bobrovsky protecting the goal, the Blue Jackets are a formidable force on both ends of the ice. What’s more is that, at least to an observer who is not in the locker room, it seems head coach John Tortorella has a team with no ego, intense focus to detail defensively and a belief that they can beat any team on any night if given the opportunity.
These characteristics are the differentiating factors that are defining the eye-opening success for the Columbus Blue Jackets right now.
Game 4 is back in Nationwide Arena this Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports.
The 8-seed Columbus Blue Jackets swept the 1-seed–and Presidents’ Trophy-winning–Tampa Bay Lightning in four games in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This remarkable feat was the first time:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets had won a playoff series in its franchise history
- The Presidents’ Cup winners were swept in the first round of the NHL Playoffs
Game 1: A 3-0 deficit was erased with a stunning Blue Jackets 4-3 comeback win.
Game 2: Columbus destroyed Tampa Bay 5-1 in Florida.
Game 3: The Blue Jackets won 3-1.
Game 4: Watch below to relieve the dramatic, magical night inside Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH-IO on Tuesday evening.
Was last season’s four-game collapse against the favorited Washington Capitals the odd springboard for the Blue Jackets playoff success thus far in 2019? That’s probably a safe presumption, specifically when discussing the third game in this series. More broadly, Columbus has arrived in a way this city has been waiting around two decades to witness.
And now its NHL counterparts and fans alike are seeing something different about the Blue Jackets right now…
something they don’t want to face-off with anytime soon.
Game 6: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. The Columbus Blue Jackets
In a must-win situation for the Blue Jackets in Nationwide Arena tonight, they need to skate, hit, pass and shoot with purpose and intensity and be as creative and daring as “the Minnesota Miracle Man.”
Sergei Bobrovsky: in order to lead Columbus back 180 miles east for Game 7, you may need to do a little more than mind the net…
That would be
Goal of the Year Goal of the Century.
We Are The 5th Line!
Especially in a shortened season, this record after twenty-one games was completely contradictory to any aspirations of competing in the post-season in the NHL. This was the Columbus Blue Jackets’ record on March 2nd, no less. It was abysmal.
And yet, with one away and one home match-up remaining, the once-last-place-in-the-entire-league Blue Jackets are potentially two victories from making the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history. Wow! How did this happen?
Let”s start with two words: Jarmo Kekalainen.
No, this isn’t a Finnish delicacy, but the name of the Blue Jackets’ current general manager. In fact, according to the Associated Press’s “Jackets hire Jarmo Kekalainen as GM” on ESPN.com from February 13, 2013, the general manager shift mid-season was quite a big deal.
“Just more than 24 hours after firing Scott Howson, they announced the hiring of Jarmo Kekalainen of Finland as the first European to be a general manager in the National Hockey League.”
Hard to believe, but it’s true. What seems even more unlikely is that Columbus could be playing hockey in May. And yet, on April 24th, it’s still a possibility.
Following the entrance of Kekalainen, the Blue Jacket’s continued with their losing ways, temporarily. There was a three-game and a four-game losing streak. Then came their battle at home hosting the Colorado Avalanche. Including this March 3rd victory versus the Avalanche, Columbus has achieved two five-game and two three-game winning streaks. Currently, they have won nine of their last twelve. An away game at Dallas this Thursday and the home finale against Nashville on Saturday will determine whether or not their hope of earning the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference will even be attainable.
The Columbus hockey faithful know a third three-game winning streak to end the regular season is a must.
The Blue Jackets have played in seventeen (17) overtimes and nine (9) have gone to shootouts this season thus far. They have won five of the shootouts. While Sergei Bobrovsky continues to play sensationally down the stretch, he is 5-4 in shootouts. For Jacket’s fans though, having Bobrovsky conclude the regular season with a potential 7-4 record would be viewed as a tremendous and celebratory achievement.
If the Blue Jackets are to make the playoffs, then their mission has to continue to be met: win nearly every single game starting in late March. So far, the summit is still visible. It’s cloudy with some gusting winds and blinding snowfall, but the top is still within reach.
And by reach, I literally mean that of Sergei Bobrovsky. Hopes of earning a spot in the playoffs may come down to a shootout.
I wonder if Bobrovsky is a fan of Julie “The Cat” Gaffney?