With the playoff races creeping around the corner, the NHL’s Metropolitan Division standings are tightly coming together. Is there enough time for the Blue Jackets to turn into a playoff contender?
With the current red hot New York Islanders leading the charge, the Blue Jackets are only one point out of the third place playoff spot for the Metro. Only behind the Islanders by four points going into Friday, the Blue Jackets look to gain a few points after their current four-game losing streak.
The next five games for Columbus include one at home against the St. Louis Blues and three on a road trip that includes the Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes and the Vegas Golden Knights before returning home to face the Washington Capitals. The Capitals are currently in third place, only one point ahead of Columbus. These next few games could become a crucial part in whether the Jackets make the playoffs.
The teams struggles begin with the PowerPlay unit. The team is currently 26th in the league converting on 15.4% of their chances. Not only in the PowerPlay unit, but also between the pipes. Starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed 20 goals in the last 5 games with a .847 save percentage on 137 shots faced.
With 57 points this season, Artemi Panarin leads the Blue Jackets in total combined points. Leading goal scorer Cam Atkinson with 28, has a chance to score 50 goals this season. His play has made a huge difference in the teams wins.
Despite all the talent the question remains, can the Blue Jackets come together and make it back to the postseason for a third consecutive season?