The Columbus Blue Jackets set a franchise record on Sunday night against the Vancouver Canucks by playing in their 43rd contest decided by a single goal. This is a record that dates back to the 2010-11 season in which they played 42, they also finished that season with a record of 34-35-13, missing out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second season in a row.
While the 2010-11 season did not provide a good narrative for one-goal games, this season might just prove differently. The Jackets currently hold onto a playoff spot by the tips of their fingers, sitting on 81 points with the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and even the New York Rangers biting at their heels.
The record of one-goal games in a season tells a bigger story for Columbus, and one that is quite obvious at first glance - their defense and goaltending are rock solid and their goal-scoring ability is nothing short of lackluster. While the latter two points will help down the stretch, the Jackets are going to have to find a way to break the latter if they intend to make another playoff appearance, especially given they have the most difficult final stretch of the season in terms of quality of opposition.
The Jackets have, as it stands now, seven of their final 12 games against an opponent in a playoff spot, and this could easily rise down the stretch. It is against this strong opposition that one-goal games and goalscoring are truly going to make the difference, and at a paltry 2.57 goals-per-game, this has proven to be a tall task to overcome.
While most teams of this position have big names to lean on, the Jackets currently lack most of their offensive firepower. This may seem a bleak situation, but if Columbus is able to pull it off with a team largely made of prospects and AHL-level talent, this would go to show the depth and quality of coaching that the organization has put into place.
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