For Your Viewing Pleasure, Blue Jackets Still Provide Excitement For Down The Stretch

By Will Chase on February 26, 2024 at 10:15 am
Columbus Blue Jackets' Kirill Marchenko scores a goal during the second period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

There's a quarter of the season left.

As the year winds down for the Columbus Blue Jackets, we check out the fun storylines for the club to monitor down the stretch.

We've written about it all season, and among the more fun storylines going for the Blue Jackets on a game-by-game basis is the "Russian line" of Yegor Chinakhov - Dmitri Voronkov - Kirill Marchenko.

The three have connected for goals all season long.

The trio did it again in Sunday's win over the New York Rangers, combining for the team's second goal 18 seconds into the second period.

Voronkov scored the first goal of the game at 4:34 for his 16th of the season and led the game with seven shots in the win. He has goals in two straight games and tallies in five of his last eight games.

The three players have been among the most impactful for the Blue Jackets this season.

Marchenko is third on the club with 31 points and second with 17 goals. Voronkov is fourth with 30 points and third with 16 goals. Chinakhov is fifth with 28 points and fourth with 15 goals.

Voronkov is one goal off the rookie goal-scoring pace, trailing Connor Bedard and Marco Rossi.  

Before Voronkov's goal on Sunday was a fight between Mathieu Olivier and New York's Matt Rempe, and you can read more about that bout here. That tilt set the tone for the Blue Jackets.

Adam Fantilli is recovering from a calf laceration suffered just two games before the All-Star Break in Seattle on Jan. 28. Expected to miss eight weeks, it'll be interesting to see just when he might return and whether he might be eligible to play for the Cleveland Monsters as they gear up for a playoff stretch.

Cole Sillinger was made eligible to play for the Monsters in last year's playoff stretch.

The Monsters currently lead the North Division with 66 points, holding a five-point edge over the second-place Syracuse Crunch.

Despite not playing since late January, Fantilli is seventh among rookies with 27 points, eighth with 15 assists, and fifth with 12 goals.

Last Thursday's trade between Columbus and the Pittsburgh Penguins saw Emil Bemstrom head to the playoff-hopeful Penguins with Alex Nylander and a conditional sixth-round draft pick heading to Columbus.

If Bemstrom can score six goals down the stretch, the conditional sixth-round pick would become a third-round pick. He scored on the power play in his Penguins debut on Sunday, helping defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 7-6.

Five more goals to go.

Columbus will face the Penguins three times next month: Mar. 5 and 28th in Pittsburgh and Mar. 30 in Columbus.

Johnny Gaudreau had a documented tough start to the year but has found his game of late. He leads the team with 42 points, albeit an underwhelming total to lead a club, and he leads the team with 34 assists.

Since Jan. 1, Gaudreau has led the team with 17 points and 16 assists. He only has one goal in the new year. Zach Werenski has dealt with a few injury bouts and hasn't had luck scoring the puck (four goals) but is second with 33 points and 29 assists.

He did break through with two goals in the 7-4 win last week over the Anaheim Ducks.

The NHL trade deadline is Mar. 8 and though the Blue Jackets could be relatively quiet, could they make a deal?

President John Davidson said Boone Jenner, the team's lone All-Star and goal leader (18) will not be traded. But one interesting player to keep an eye on is Jack Roslovic who is getting hot at just the right time.

He has six points (one goal, five assists) over his last five games. Roslovic carries with him a $4 million cap hit through the rest of this season.

The Blue Jackets are back in action on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden when the Jackets go for two straight over the Rangers. That game would mark Jenner's 700th career game.

View 8 Comments