The Chase: With the Blue Jackets Off Thursday Night, Three Huge Games Take Center Stage in the Eastern Conference Race

By 1OB Staff on March 14, 2019 at 7:45 am
Jeff Skinner takes a shot on goal
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Chase is your morning primer on where the Blue Jackets stand in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs race. What happened, what's next, and who to cheer for.

There were three games across the NHL last night, and they had zero impact on the Eastern Conference playoff race.

As a result, the Blue Jackets are still holding down the WC2 spot with 12 games to improve their position. Which is important, because WC2 means a first round date with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In other words, likely a quick death.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS 70 12 41 22 7 89 37 L1 8–2–0
NY ISLANDERS 69 13 40 22 7 87 36 W1 5–4–1
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 70 12 38 23 9 85 37 W2 6–2–2
x-TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 70 12 53 13 4 110 47 W2 8–2–0
BOSTON BRUINS 70 12 42 19 9 93 40 L2 7–2–1
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 70 12 42 23 5 89 42 L2 6–3–1
CAROLINA HURRICANES 69 13 38 24 7 83 37 W2 7–2–1
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 70 12 39 28 3 81 38 W1 5–5–0
MONTREAL CANADIENS 70 12 37 26 7 81 35 W1 5–5–0
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 69 13 34 27 8 76 32 W2 6–3–1

If the action across the league was light last night, tonight features four games with impact on the race in the east. Better yet, in three of the four games, the team you want to win as a Blue Jacket fan is playing at home.

Home Away Who to Cheer for
BUFFALO (30–30–9, 69p) PITTSBURGH (39–23–9, 85p) Sabres.
NY ISLANDERS (40–22–7, 87p) MONTREAL (37–26–7, 81p) Islanders, otherwise the Habs jump the CBJ.
PHILADELPHIA (34–27–8, 76p) WASHINGTON (41–22–7, 89p) Caps. Ensure the WC battle is a three-team affair, not four.
WINNIPEG (40–25–4, 84p) BOSTON (42–19–9, 93p) Not a ton of relevance, but Jets, because why not?

We're all Sabres fans today as a win over the Penguins keeps Pittsburgh within four points of Columbus for No. 3 spot in the Metro.

Then, you're going to want to cheer on the Islanders as the welcome the Canadiens, because Montreal would jump the Jackets in the standings with a win. You'll want the Caps to hand the Flyers a home loss to keep Philadelphia five points back of the wild card fray.

Finally, we're pulling for Winnipeg against the Bruins. The game doesn't matter a ton as far as the Blue Jackets are concerned, but if you can deny an Eastern Conference team two points in a game against a Western Conference team, why not?

Today's stress ball: Can we appreciate Boone Jenner's hat trick for another day?