CBJ are Chasing History
Tyler Hinds, fire the cannon! (@THinds3)
With a tomorrow night over the Washington Capitals, the Columbus Blue Jackets will tie an NHL record set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins for most consecutive wins at 17. This is quite the feat for an organization that has had little to cheer about in their 16 years of existence in the NHL. Besides two first-round playoff appearances in 2009 and 2014, there have been no other noteworthy performances out of Columbus, OH. Let's take a closer look at what is different this season...
1. Power Play
It is the dominance of the Blue Jackets power play (28.3%) that has driven their early success so far. Lead by team point leader Cam Atkinson (18g - 20a - 38pts) and a well-balanced secondary scoring cast, which has 8 players averaging over 0.5 points/game, Columbus is sitting 2nd in the league, only behind Pittsburgh, with a 3.44 goal/game average.
2. Team Defense
It starts with the performance of their Russian goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, who boasts a season record of 25-5-2 with 1.92 goals against average and .934 save percentage. As a whole, their team defense ranks 1st in the league having only allowed 73 goals against in 36 games played (2.03 goals against/game).
A lot of credit needs to be given to the management team of the Columbus Blue Jackets, specifically their GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who has put some key pieces in place since taking over in 2013. A year prior with the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Blue Jackets selected a young talented D-man named Ryan Murray. The following year they selected another high impact player with their 1st round pick, the Swedish-born Alexander Wennberg, and 3 years later he sits second on the team in points.
They always say good things happen in threes and that's exactly what happened in 2015. First, D-man Zach Werenski was drafted 8th overall out of the University of Michigan. As a rookie, he is now quarterbacking the most effective power play in hockey. Second, head coach Todd Richards was fired after starting the season 0-8-0 and in stepped the highly vocal and proven winner, John Tortorella. The final event was the blockbuster trade, which saw their most prolific goal scorer, Ryan Johansen, shipped off to Nashville for their steady American born blue-liner, Seth Jones.
All of a sudden the Columbus Blue Jackets have gone from the laughing stock of the NHL to potentially etching their name into NHL history. Can you say party in Ohio?
May the odds ever be in their favour,
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