The Columbus Blue Jackets opened up their annual Western-Canadian road-trip by spotting the Edmonton Oilers a trio of goals before scoring seven of their own. Tonight's game pits the Blue Jackets against another team that has been eliminated from playoff contention, but nonetheless a team with some scary talent. Hello, Calgary.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Calgary Flames
Scotiabank Saddledome, 9:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
- Johnny Hockey is the real deal. Gaudreau, his biological last name, is an elite talent that has 82 points on the season, putting him in the same breath as Alex Ovechkin (83) and Sidney Crosby (84). He flies a bit under the radar playing in Calgary, but if the Blue Jackets give him time and space, he'll make them pay.
- There's no way to sugar coat it: the past month has been a huge disappointment for the Flames. It wasn't long ago that they were in the thick of the wild card race in the West, but a recent six-game losing streak has dashed those hopes. They're just 3-10-1 since the trade deadline, a day where they failed to truly address a roster that had some needs. The Blue Jackets represent their first opponent since the Flames were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
- With just five games to go, we're officially in crunch time. With a win, the Jackets can continue to put pressure on the teams surrounding on them on both ends of the standings. There's still so much to be settled, and with just nine Eastern Conference teams realistically vying for eight spots, every game represents a chance to push closer to a playoff spot.
TALE OF THE TAPE:
35-32-10 (5th in Pacific Division)
PP: 16.4% (27th) / PK: 80.8% (14th)
5v5 Corsi: 53.3% (3rd)
43-29-5 (4th in Metropolitan Division)
PP: 15.1% (30th) / PK: 77.5% (24th)
5v5 Corsi: 51.7% (7th)