Boom! The Columbus Blue Jackets are headed back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third year in a row.
With a 3-2 shootout win over the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden tonight, the Blue Jackets clinched the final playoff berth in the NHL's Eastern Conference.
Columbus has now made the playoffs in all of coach John Tortorella's three full seasons in town, and five times overall as a franchise, also earning trips in 2009 and 2014.
|2008-09||92||Lost 1st round to Red Wings, 0–4|
|2013-14||93||Lost 1st round to Pittsburgh Penguins, 2–4.|
|2016-17||108||Lost 1st round to Pittsburgh Penguins, 1–4.|
|2017-18||97||Lost 1st round to Washington Capitals, 2–4.|
The Jackets won't know their first round opponent until after the conclusion of games tomorrow night. Currently in the second wild card with 96 points, Columbus trails the Carolina Hurricanes for the first wild card spot by one point.
The Blue Jackets are in Ottawa for their final regular season game tomorrow, while Carolina travels to Philadelphia to end the season.
Any combination of outcomes that sees the Blue Jackets earn one more point than the Hurricanes tomorrow night will vault them ahead of the Canes into the first wild card spot, thanks to the Jackets' 44-43 edge in ROW (regulation or overtime wins), the first tie-breaker.
That means a CBJ win and a Carolina loss of any kind, or a Jackets overtime loss and a Carolina regulation loss will see Columbus jump Carolina, which is important, because neither team should want to face Tampa Bay, far and away the NHL's best team this season, in the first round.