Don't look now, Tankers, but Columbus is 4-1-1 in their last five, and 6-3-1 in their last 10. Don't worry, they're still officially in last place, and they have beaten a lot of crappy teams in that stretch. The Islanders are decidedly not crappy.
That said, the improved play of late got a couple of people thinking about the comparisons of a young goaltender making his NHL debut in a tight injury spot and impressing. Obviously, a miracle playoff run is not in the card this season. But, given the easing up of the schedule since the end of 2015, is it possible this team does just enough... again... to end up finishing, say, 24th? Anything is possible, with the logjam now at the bottom of the standings. A win tonight could jump them over three other teams and tie them with two more (though the Jackets have played the most games of the group at the bottom).
So, what do we pull for? I've always been on record saying I pull for wins while the team is on the ice. It's not in my DNA to root for losses. If this team is going to get its collective shit together in February... again... is that really the best plan of attack? Most would agree that it's not. But, with a new coach and young players, could there *actually* be some benefit? I just don't know.
I still want Auston Matthews, man.
The Isles come in in a bit of a funk (for them), with just a 7-7-1 record in their last 15 games. That's not horrible, though they find themselves clinging perilously to the final Wild Card spot in the East. They've also beaten the Jackets three straight times this season, and are coming off an absolute PASTING of Edmonton the other night to the tune of 8-1. So, will they continue that roll tonight, or can the Jackets finally solve them in their fourth try?
Columbus Blue Jackets
(21-28-5, 45 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)
|Boone Jenner||Brandon Dubinsky||Cam Atkinson|
|Scott Hartnell||Alexander Wennberg||Nick Foligno|
|Kerby Rychel||William Karlsson||Matt Calvert|
|Brandon Saad||Gregory Campbell||Rene Bourque|
|Ryan Murray||Seth Jones|
|Jack Johnson||Cody Goloubef|
|Fedor Tyutin||Dalton Prout|
New York Islanders
(27-18-6, 60 Points; 4th Division, 8th Conference)
|Mikhail Grabovski||John Tavares||Ryan Strome|
|Nikolay Kulemin||Franz Nielsen||Kyle Okposo|
|Anders Lee||Brock Nelson||Josh Bailey|
|Matt Martin||Casey Cizikas||Cal Clutterbuck|
|Travis Hamonic||Calvin de Haan|
|Nick Leddy||Johnny Boychuk|
|Thomas Hickey||Marek Zidlicky|