No one said it was going to be easy.
Jeff sketched out a roadmap of the Blue Jackets best chance to make it to the Stanley Cup finals. Although everything didn't fall into this team's favor, at some point, to be the best... well, you know what they say.
The Blue Jackets opportunity to make some noise in the playoffs comes in the first game of the post-season. A soft goal past Marc-Andre Fleury could snowball into a win in Pittsburgh. Taking home ice advantage could allow the Blue Jackets to do what the Islanders could not last year: Pull an upset.
The Jackets need to take a note from the Philadelphia Flyers playbook. The Penguins don't like to be hit. When you get under their skin, they get off their game. When they're not on their game, they can be beat. I don't think it's any coincidence that a player like Matt Calvert has scored two late goals against the Penguins. If this team is going to win, it's going to be following the lead of Calvert, Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, and Derek MacKenzie.
This team was just as good on the road, and sometimes better, than at home this year. And when the Los Angeles Kings won the Cup in 2012, who really picked an 8 seed to run the table, never once seeing home ice advantage? Well, aside from fans in Southern California.
Jackets fans, the thing to remember is that anything is possible. When you have an elite, Vezina-winning goalie who has just rounded back into his award-winning form and a power play that's been scoring at a better than 30% pace, you can beat anybody. The games will be tough. They will be ugly.
Here's the thing: No one cares if you won your games 6-5 or 1-0 if at the end of the battle, you're hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup.
Columbus has wanted to show people what they're made of -- that this team is real. That we are a hockey town. Screw you and your "non-traditional market."
Now's our chance.