For the past two postseasons, the Columbus Blue Jackets have had to fight to the death for a playoff spot despite averaging over 100 points between both years.
This season, they have struggled at times with consistency, and that the rest of their division's play is bailing them out.
Even after one of the more dramatic off seasons in club history and now dealing with inconsistent play on what seems like every other night, the Blue Jackets are still in the hunt for the first seed in the division, with an 9-6-1 record.
What a time to be alive.
Normally having 19 points after 16 games in the Metro division means you're fighting to not be in last place with the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes.
But because of some similar slow starts with the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, the Jackets are sitting pretty in the division race. First place in fact.
So, what gives?
The Caps have been as inconsistent as the Blue Jackets - only being able to win consecutive games once in their 14 so far. Their power play is on fire as always, first in the league, but their penalty kill is near the bottom, same as Columbus.
Pittsburgh, another top dog, has lost five straight just after ripping off a four game win streak. Goaltender Matt Murray has not been himself - sitting at a 3.87 GAA with a .886 save percentage.
The Blue Jackets have shown nights where they seem elite-level, in convincing wins against the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars and now Washington Capitals, but have also been embarrassed by the Detroit Red Wings, Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings, all bottom-of-the-league teams.
If they can find some momentum and rip off some win streaks, they can surely take the torch of the Metro division and run with it, especially if the current state of struggling teams continues.
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