The Columbus Blue Jackets (45-31-4) will face the New York Rangers (31-36-13) at Madison Square Garden tonight with the puck drop scheduled for shortly after 7:00 PM ET. A regulation win for Columbus would clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After a forgettable 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins in front of a sellout crowd at Nationwide Arena, the CBJ have moved on and now are focused on the Rangers.
While Friday’s affair isn’t technically a must-win hockey game in order for the Jackets to make the playoffs, it could dramatically lower the stress levels of CBJ fans who have endured plenty of heartbreak.
Oliver Bjorkstrand has been on fire, scoring in his last six outings and Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has played his best hockey during the final stretch of the campaign, putting Columbus in great position to make it to the playoffs with two games left on the docket.
The Jackets are making a surprising move, calling up Forward Alexandre Texier for his National Hockey League debut. Texier recorded five goals, two assists, a plus- 6 rating, and a scored on 25% of his shots in seven games with the Cleveland Monsters (the team’s AHL affiliate) to earn the opportunity to play for Columbus.
With all that said, the Blue Jackets will have no excuses if they can’t win this evening.
On Tuesday, Boston outworked and outplayed Columbus, scoring the first five goals of the night.
The Rangers don’t have anything to play for and are only have four wins in their last previous 19 games.
Talk is cheap at this time of the season. Everything is lined up for the Columbus Blue Jackets to make the postseason for the third year in a row. They’ll do just that if they win tonight.