By The Numbers: What It Will Take For The Columbus Blue Jackets To Reach The Stanley Cup Playoffs

By Ed Francis on March 16, 2021 at 10:15 am
Is there any hope left of postseason hugs at Nationwide Arena?
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Ask one Columbus Blue Jacket fan, and the season is over.

Ask another, and it's just getting started.

No matter which side of the fence that fan were to fall on, they would have a solid argument in their back pocket: the numbers. You know, facts.

For those wearing the rose-colored glasses, a look at the numbers paints a less-bleak-than-expected picture; one that confirms this team is certainly not out of the playoff race yet.

For those a little less optimistic (or, "realistic", they will tell you), one look at the numbers shows the Blue Jackets are entirely out of the playoff race with no hope to salvage the season.

No matter which side you may fall on, there can always be value in looking at things from more than your side. So buckle up, baby strap in, because here's an all-views-counted look at the Blue Jackets pursuit of a postseason: 


FLORIDA 28 19 5 4 42 84.0
CAROLINA 27 20 6 1 41 85.0
TAMPA BAY 27 19 6 2 40 82.9
CHICAGO  30 14 11 5 33 61.6
COLUMBUS 30 11 12 7 29 54.1
NASHVILLE 29 12 16 1 25 48.2
DALLAS 24 9 9 6 24 56.0
DETROIT 29 8 17 4 20 38.6

KEEPIN' THE FAITH: The Blue Jackets are projected to finish 7.5 points back of the 4th and final playoff spot, which currently belongs to the Chicago Blackhawks. But just one calendar week ago, the Blackhawks 61.6 pace was at 66.7. For the Blue Jackets, who have a point in their last three games (0-1-2), the pace was just 51.8, as opposed to their current 54.1. In other words: Just one calendar week ago, the Blue Jackets were on pace to miss the 4th seeded team by 12.6 points. In just seven days, that has been cut by nearly 40%. The Blue Jackets have become consistent, while Chicago has allowed Columbus (and the Dallas Stars) to stay right in the thick of it. For as impossible as it may seem, here's how close the Blue Jackets are to a playoff spot: They've played overtime with the Blackhawks twice, and lost them both. Had they won both - even in overtime - the two teams would be tied for the final playoff spot. Tied! Two overtime shots away from a tie in the division. 

DOOM N' GLOOM: It is becoming more clear by the day that there is only one playoff spot up for grabs, as Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Florida seem to running away with the division. Each of the three teams are on pace to finish more than 20 points ahead of the other five teams in the division, only one of which will make the playoffs. With respect (sort of) to Detroit and Nashville, they're not going to make the playoffs. This means we're looking at one playoff spot for Dallas, Chicago, and Columbus. The problem is, Columbus is projected to finish with the fewest points of any of those teams. The Blackhawks pace is at 61.6, but the pundits believe it'll take 63-65 to get in. That means that the Blue Jackets, with 26 games left, would need roughly 35 points to make the postseason. 16-7-3 would be 35 points and get them to 64 points. Can it be done? Sure, but the Blue Jackets are one of only a few teams to not have a three-game winning streak this season, and now it will take winning (around) two out of three the rest of the way out. That seems unlikely. 


TEAM 3/16 3/17 3/18 3/19 3/20 3/21 3/22 3/23
COLUMBUS Off Off @CAR Off @CAR Off vs. CAR Off
CHICAGO Off Off @ TB Off @TB Off Off vs. FLA
DALLAS vs. TB Off @ DET Off @ DET vs. NSH Off vs. TB
NASHVILLE Off Off @ FLA Off @ FLA @ DAL Off vs. DET

RAYS OF SUNSHINE: Columbus and Carolina haven't played in over a month, a long stretch by the standards of a short season. The Blue Jackets lost two of three, but two of the three were in Laine's first week as a Blue Jacket, and a team that was just a couple of weeks removed from the Pierre-Luc Dubois drama, not to mention the arrival of Laine, who was playing in just his 3rd and 4th games as a Jacket. And of the two losses, one of those was just plain weird and could have went either way. It's not any easier for the two teams surrounding Columbus in the point projection arena: Chicago and Dallas both have Tampa Bay twice on the week.

BEAMS OF PESSIMISM: The Hurricanes are undefeated in the month of March and have won eight straight games. Not quite a team you want to face in four consecutive games. Meanwhile Dallas, with any effort, should pick up six points in a four night span this weekend to jumble the standings up even more while also pulling ahead in the projected point totals. 


DON'T STOP BELIEVIN': For all the struggles this team has had, and as much as it's been a foregone conclusion that they're one of the worst teams out there, they're just two games out of a playoff spot. Take three of four from Carolina, and you're on your way.

View 2 Comments