December and everything after....
Two months into the season and things could go either way. Traditionally, Jackets fans expect the CBJ to fade but this team feels different. Here is a view of how they stand after US Thanksgiving.
Columbus Blue Jackets (12/2/19)
Record: 11-11-4 (26 points in 26 games)
Metro Standing: 7th (9 points out of 3rd place)
East Standing: 13th (only above OTT, NJD and DET)
Wild Card Standing: 7th (6 points behind PIT for the last spot)
Columbus finds itself 3rd from last in Goals For (66) and 12th in Goals Against (80).
PLD leads the team with 18 points and 10 goals (10-8-18) while Cam has only 4 goals and 14 points. Zach is the 3rd leading scorer with 6-10-16 but, is out indefinitely with what looks like a separated shoulder. Korpisalo has established himself as the starter collecting 11 wins, a 2.83 GAA and .902 Sv%.
In the month of November the Jackets were 6-6-2, had 35 Goals For and 37 Goals Against. In the last two weeks scoring has increase to 3 goals per game, which of course, isn't great, but better.
Inconsistency had continued throughout the month. The CBJ did end the month with a 4-1 home record in the last two weeks. Mixed in there, they were 0-2 on the road. Overall they were 4-3 in that time frame, including being shutout once and only scoring one goal once (but getting the win 1-0 over OTT).
December has the CBJ playing 14 games, 7 home and 7 away, and only one back-to-back. There is a 4-game road trip over 8 days that includes FLA, WSH, PIT and OTT. Half of the games (7) are against Metro foes, three of those against division-leading WSH. All three Western Conference games will be at Nationwide Arena (ARI, LAK and CHI).
By playing .500 hockey for the first two months, the Jackets have stayed in the conversation. With a single week of good play the CBJ could be right in the playoff mix. With a single week of bad play they could be at the bottom looking like a seller and planning for next season.
I believe that play will continue to improve. This team is likely to be part of the playoff picture come the last month-or-two of the season. Ultimately, this doesn't feel like a playoff team as I had them projected. Trade deadline should be interesting as the CBJ could be right on the fence of buying or selling.
The hockey week starts tomorrow as ARI comes to NWA.
Good Luck and Go Jackets!