With Injuries Galore, Blue Jackets Need to Rely on Goaltending and Defense

By Nic Hendrickson on February 22, 2020 at 10:15 am
Elvis Merzlikins
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The last two weeks have been tough ones for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Amid a seven-game slide, pushing them out of a top-three Metropolitan Division spot and into the thick of things, they have been handed yet another injury in the form of Oliver Bjorkstrand's broken ankle.

While times might seem tough, there is still plenty of reason for hope in the final stretch of the season. One major reason to believe in this is that Joonas Korpisalo has re-emerged from the injury list to rejoin the battle. While he is currently in Cleveland on a conditioning stint, he will eventually return, and having two proven starters to mind the net is something any team would envy.

These two well-proven goalies will mind the net in what proves to be a very important stretch of the season. To break it down, there are plenty of "winnable" games remaining, with a few of them coming in the next two weeks.

Columbus faces a struggling Nashville Predators tonight, the Ottawa Senators on Monday, as well as having a home-and-away against a middling Minnesota Wild on Tuesday and Friday. If Korpisalo can return to play one of the two in the back-to-back games on Monday or Tuesday, this will almost certainly result in points for Columbus.

While the return of Korpisalo doesn't address the lack of scoring, the defense should help to quell some of those worries. The Jackets have proven time and time again that defense and goaltending is their form of success, and with two starting goalies in tow, this could prove to be a fruitful endeavor if the current list of call-ups can score a goal or two to supplement the regulars.

So while it might seem a dire time, there is still reason for hope and belief. The next two weeks will prove to make or break the season, and with one of the best goaltending tandems and a top-five defensive corps, the Jackets might just have what it takes to endure the storm that is a plethora of untimely injuries.

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