The 2019 NHL season is coming to a close, and the Columbus Blue Jackets are fighting for their playoff lives as they enter the stretch run. With several other teams in contention, spots from second in the Metro division to missing the playoffs are up for grabs, with the Jackets fighting with the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Montreal Canadiens for the final spot.
Here’s what each team faces over the next week, through next Wednesday night, as the playoff race rages on.
New York Islanders
Montreal - Thursday, March 14
At Detroit - Saturday, March 16
At Minnesota - Sunday, March 17
Boston - Tuesday, March 19
The Islanders have a two tough games this week, and two they should win as they visit the struggling Red Wings and Wild this weekend. The Islanders will certainly look to solidify their stranglehold on second in the Metro division with a manageable stretch. A win over Montreal would be a boost to the Blue Jackets as the team chases the final playoff spot.
At Columbus - Friday, March 15
Buffalo - Saturday, March 16
Pittsburgh - Tuesday, March 19
Two tough Metro games in the coming week for the Carolina Hurricanes, with a four point matchup against the Blue Jackets on Friday night in Nationwide Arena. A win over Carolina will give Columbus real hope of making a push for the first wild card spot and avoiding the Tampa Bay Lightning. A game against the Penguins on Tuesday means one of the two teams the Jackets are competing with will get two points, but Jackets fans can at least hope the result is a regulation result, regardless of outcome.
At Buffalo - Thursday, March 14
St. Louis - Saturday, March 16
Philidelphia - Sunday, March 17
At Carolina - Tuesday, March 19
Please lose every game to end the season. Thank you, next.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Carolina - Friday, March 15
At Boston - Saturday, March 16
At Calgary - Tuesday, March 19
Beating Carolina is paramount for the Blue Jackets this week before the team embarks on a four game road trip. First up on the trip is a return visit to Boston, a team that will be motivated after Columbus put up seven goals on Tuesday night and chased Tuukka Rask. After that, the Blue Jackets embark on their Western Canada road trip by visiting one of the best teams in the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames.
At New York Islanders - Thursday, March 14
Chicago - Saturday, March 16
At Philadelphia - Tuesday, March 19
Losing to Chicago, who is hot of late, would be nice for the Blue Jackets’ fortunes down the stretch. Chicago beat Toronto in Toronto on Wednesday night and are possibly the hottest team in the league over their last five games. Montreal has seen their playoff chances slip in recent weeks, but are still level on points with Columbus (though Columbus has a three ROW advantage).
The Jackets have to take care of their own business down the stretch, and will be scoreboard watching every night to close the season. It’s a nerve-wracking time to be a hockey fan, but no one said this would be easy.
What are you looking for in the next week?