If someone would have told you...
That after the All-Star break, Sergei Bobrovsky would be allowing over three goals per game, you'd be asking if the Blue Jackets were on the outside of the playoff picture. But we're now seeing something we haven't in a while with this club, as they have a respectable 28-19-3 record, one of their best starts ever through 50 games.
The two-time Vezina winner is having one of his worst seasons as a Blue Jacket. His 3.01 goals against average and .901 save percentage haven't been seen since his Philadelphia Flyers days, but the Blue Jackets are in the division race.
Bobrovsky is arguably the best Blue Jacket of all time, and has certainly been one of the most valuable players to step on the ice for the club for the past seven seasons. Usually, if Bobrovsky was having a tough night, so were the Blue Jackets. As his game went, so did the team's performance.
The team has heavily leaned on Bobrovsky to bail them out of games since his other-worldly performances in the 2013-2014 season that almost gave them a postseason berth.
And we may be getting to a point where that leaning has started to show on Bobrovsky.
His age isn't necessarily of question yet (30), nor is his health (he's been healthy this season), but if his off-the-ice frustrations show anything, it's that he may be a little tired of backpacking this team. Or just ready to move on, period.
And yet, right on cue, the team has responded.
This season, the Blue Jackets are again top-half in the NHL in scoring and are one of the best 5-on-5 teams in the league – and it's buoyed them despite an atrocious power play. What they're lacking in goaltending and special teams has been met with an offensive surge from the top forwards and defensemen.
This is also displayed in the fact that they are barely positive in net scoring (+6). To win, they've simply been outscoring teams (Tampa Bay is +58, for reference).
They've been ride-or-die on Bobrovsky the past seven years and are finally picking up the slack on their own, and now the Russian netminder is somehow one of the last missing puzzle pieces to being a serious playoff threat.
So, if there's any silver lining to this dramatic, roller-coaster, inconsistent and head-banging Blue Jackets season, it's this: If Bobrovsky can return to form in the next few weeks, don't sleep on the Blue Jackets in the playoffs.
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