The Columbus Blue Jackets have just come back from the West Coast Canadian road trip, one that has proven to be a boost to the end of the past few season's success. While this one might not have been as fruitful, the Jackets continue to be in playoff contention.
This past road trip has shown a perfect road map of what has been a difficult season to understand in the small sample size of three games. The first game came against the Calgary Flames in which they lost in overtime. This has been something that the Jackets have become accustomed to, losing a vast majority of their games this season that go outside of regulation.
That game has also shown what has also been a hot topic of discussion in that the Jackets lack a lethal scorer that can finish games in clutch moments. Because of this, the Jackets have lost 15 overtime losses, more than any other team in the league.
The second game of the road trip came against the Edmonton Oilers, where Columbus heavily outshot the Oilers 24 to 46, but still came away with a 4-1 loss. Capitalizing on chances, or lack thereof, was the downfall of the Jackets in that one.
And finally, in the penultimate game of the road trip, the Jackets played a high energy, gritty, yet nervy game. There were times of serious doubt, but Columbus was able to continue their success at Rogers Arena with a 2-1 win, putting them at 5-0-1 at Rogers in the past six seasons.
If blowing leads, not finishing chances, and pulling off wins that are nervy doesn't sum up this season, plus injuries, of course, I don't know what does.
Despite the obvious negative tone here, there is a silver lining to all of this, and it is the fact that the Jackets currently hold onto the top Wild Card position.
It is going to be a tough stretch of games over the final few weeks, but if the Jackets can continue to outshoot opponents, hopefully, edge out a few games as they did against Vancouver, and continue to rely on goaltending as they have, there is every reason to believe the Blue Jackets can clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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