History Made: Blue Jackets Set Franchise Record For Wins And Points

By Rob Mixer on March 13, 2017 at 10:02 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets
USA Today Sports

The Blue Jackets' magical ride continues.

This special Blue Jackets team has etched itself into the franchise’s history book.

With a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at Wells Fargo Center, they earned their 44th win of the season and 94th point (both team records), bumping their record to 44-18-6 and continuing the roll they started after the bye week. They’re 7-2-1 in 10 games since the week-long break, which has exceeded the NHL standard for performance after the mandated respite.

And the best part is that they’ve shown no signs of slowing down.

"It's good to get that record, but we want bigger and better things," Brandon Dubinsky said. "It's special, but we have a lot more in (the room) and a lot of games left. We're going to do our best to push that as far out as possible."

To think back to this summer and then the fall elicits feelings of uncertainty – and that’s not to say it was undeserved. The Blue Jackets finished last season as one of the NHL’s worst teams, shocked the hockey world by taking Pierre-Luc Dubois with the third overall pick, and making little in the way of roster changes aside from a one-year deal with Sam Gagner.

The message was clear: management did not believe this team, as assembled, was as bad as it was at times in 2015-16. They were convinced that the under-performances of several key players, beginning with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, were nothing more than anomalies and felt it appropriate to give them another chance with a full season under John Tortorella.

Wise choice.

It didn’t start well, but the Blue Jackets built momentum in November and never looked back. Easily forgotten: they won two of their first six games (2-3-1) and went on to win 27 of their first 36 (27-5-4). They lost their sixth game in regulation on Jan. 5 at Washington, which we’ll remember as the game that ended the 16-game winning streak.

Claiming the franchise wins record as their own means the 2016-17 Blue Jackets surpassed the 2013-14 team (43-32-7) led by Todd Richards. That team bowed out in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins after a spirited first-round series, and was quite literally the sum of its collective parts.

Ryan Johansen (63 points) led them in scoring. The leadership group included Jared Boll and Mark Letestu. James Wisniewski’s 44 assists were most on the club, and Sergei Bobrovsky was responsible for 32 of their 43 regular-season wins.

It’s hard not to think that this year’s team is well on its way to not only surpassing the wins and points total (as it did tonight), but setting a bench mark that will be hard to match in the years ahead.

They got it done the hard way in this game after letting an early 2-0 lead slip away against a desperate Flyers team. Philadelphia answered the two first-period Blue Jackets goals with three of their own, and Zach Werenski tied the game late in the second period after a penalty-filled middle frame for Columbus.

Brandon Dubinsky scored the game-winning goal on the power play in the third period, and though Bobrovsky wasn’t at his best, he locked it down with a razor-sharp third period and finished with 23 saves.

With the win, the Blue Jackets are one point back (94) of the idle Washington Capitals for (holy smokes) first place in the Metropolitan Division with 14 games to play.

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