Tonight, two of the hottest teams in the NHL clash in their final meeting of the season as the Columbus Blue Jackets travel to Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are fighting for their playoff lives and come into tonight’s game riding a 12 game point streak. The Blue Jackets are meanwhile backed up by the stellar month of March that Sergei Bobrovsky has turned in. Bobrovsky is 8-0-1 in March with a .971 save percentage. That’s absolutely insane.
The Blue Jackets remain second in the Metropolitan division heading into tonight’s game. The opportunity to put some distance between themselves and Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for home ice is before them after Pittsburgh laid an egg last night at home, getting shellacked by the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s crucial that the Blue Jackets take advantage of this as home ice advantage will be absolutely critical heading forward into the playoffs. The Blue Jackets can open a 4 point gap in the standings (with an equal number of games played) with a win tonight. It will be critical to follow through.
With the Blue Jackets playing 5 games in the next 8 days (thanks for that, NHL) against a murder’s row of opponents (thanks again, NHL), I expect to see Joonas Korpisalo to play tonight in Carolina. That would leave Bobrovsky fresh for the Chicago game on Friday in the United Center, and allow him a day of rest between each of the upcoming games. The offense, which has slowed through the month of March once the team clinched a playoff spot, will have to rediscover itself it Columbus is to find a way to win these games and stay in the race for the President’s Trophy. These games won’t define the season, but they could mean the difference between home ice advantage and playing on the road throughout the entirety of the playoffs.
Let’s go Jackets. Start with two points tonight and let’s go from there.
Columbus Blue Jackets
|Boone Jenner||Brandon Dubinsky||Josh Anderson|
|Brandon Saad||Sam Gagner||Cam Atkinson|
|Scott Hartnell||Alexander Wennberg||Nick Foligno|
|Matt Calvert||Lukas Sedlak||William Karlsson|
|Zach Werenski||Seth Jones|
|Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Kyle Quincey||Scott Harrington|
|Sebastian Aho||Jordan Staal
|Joakim Nordstrom||Victor Rask||Teuvu Teravainen|
|Jeff Skinner||Derek Ryan||Lee Stempniak|
|Brock McGinn||Lucas Wallmark||Phil Di Giuseppe|
|Noah Hanifin||Justin Faulk|
|Jaccob Slavin||Brett Pesce|
|Klas Dahlbeck||Matt Tennyson|