Consistency; it’s something the Columbus Blue Jackets (34-28-5) haven’t found in quite some time. Maybe that will change tonight with a victory over the Colorado Avalanche (35-24-7) at Nationwide Arena. The puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 7:00 PM ET.
More than three months have went by since the Columbus Blue Jackets won three consecutive games. A win tonight over the Avs would put that statistic to rest.
Joonas Korpisalo will be the starting goaltender for the CBJ this evening. Korpisalo’s coming off an impressive performance between the pipes on Tuesday night—saving 37 of 38 shots on net en route to a 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.
Home ice has been friendly to the CBJ lately, who’ve won their past three games at NWA, outscoring their opponents (the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights respectively) by a combined score of 12-4.
A confident Korpisalo and home ice are nice, but what’s been most impressive as of late for the Jackets has been the way they’ve started games. The CBJ have scored first (all goals coming in the first period) in their last five contests.
While youngsters such as Pierre-Luc Dubois, Sonny Milano and Oliver Bjorkstrand are getting plenty of well-deserved praise, there’s no doubt Artemi Panarin (The Bread Man) is the offensive juggernaut on the squad. Bread has scored three of the last eight goals for Columbus, including one that came just 16 seconds after the puck drop on Tuesday night.
Defenseman Ian Cole, who was acquired at the trade deadline, lived up to his billing and some on Tuesday. In the victory over Vegas, Cole had over 18 minutes of ice time, scored a goal and had a plus- 1 rating.
The Colorado Avalanche find themselves in a similar position to the CBJ—fighting for a wild-card spot in the postseason.
Avs Center Nathan MacKinnon is having himself one hell of a season, with 32 goals and 46 assists to date (he leads the team in both categories).
Columbus seems to possibly be turning the corner since the trade deadline. How they play tonight in a pivotal home game could go a long way to deciding whether or not they end up in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.