With their 5-0 spanking of the Calgary Flames last night, the Columbus Blue Jackets finally turned the page on seven seasons of futility. As of this morning, On Goal Analysis calls the Jackets IN the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
It's been quite an exciting ride to this point, as Columbus dealt with multiple injuries (OGA estimates the Jackets lost 1.6 BILLION man-games to injury this season), one of which - to Pascal Leclaire - forced the call-up of 20-year-old goalie Steve Mason on November 4th. Mason's first start was a 5-4 win over Edmonton on November 5th, and the Jackets haven't looked back.
Columbus appears to have solidified their hold on 6th place in the West, but appearances can be decieving. Eight games remain in the Blue Jackets' schedule, and they can't afford to coast. This weekend, they play a home-and-home series against the onrushing St. Louis Blues who, like Bruce Willis' character in The Sixth Sense, don't know they're dead. Next week brings a home-and-home against a desperate Nashville squad, followed by yet another home-and-home, this time against Chicago. Columbus wraps up the regular season with games against St.Louis (again) and Minnesota. As strange as it may sound, the Jackets' easiest remaining games will probably be against the Blackhawks. Who'd a thunk it?
These are exciting times in Columbus. Jackets fans, it's time to break open those piggy banks and buy some playoff tickets. Congrats to both the Blue Jackets and their long-suffering fans! In closing, I'd like to dedicate a song to Ken Hitchcock and his boys:
And Columbus, if you think the regular season has been exciting, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet...
Take me back to On Goal Analysis