This is the first edition of a monthly series which examines the upcoming months schedule for the Blue Jackets, pointing out the good, the bad and the ugly. As an added bonus, I’ll even throw in my prediction for how the team will do after the month in question is completed. Please, feel free to comment or give your own predictions here or on twitter.
Ladies and gentlemen, the preseason is finally over, and it is my pleasure to announce that both Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner made the cut. It is now time for the puck to drop. The October schedule is packed with a very diverse schedule which includes 6 home and 5 away games, so enough with the formalities, lets get started.
There is no better way to welcome Marian Gaborik, Sergei Bobrovsky and the rest of the Blue Jackets to the Eastern Conference than to have them play their first game of the season against a Western Conference team (makes total sense, right?). Mark Giordano and the Calgary Flames will be headed to a full house at Nationwide Arena on October 4th. The Flames haven’t seen a playoff game since the 08-09 season, and have been in quite a slump, which is something very familiar to the Blue Jackets.
The following day, the first intra-divisional game comes early as the Jackets travel to Long Island to face off against the Islanders and Captain John Tavares. The Islanders made the playoffs for the first time in years last season, although it was short lived thanks to the Penguins. This Islanders team is really trying to right the ship that seemed to be the Titanic for years, and it is going to be the first road game for the jackets.
On the 10th the Jackets head to Buffalo. This Sabres team is young and they are in the middle of a rebuilding period. If Columbus is truly going to be the team we are expecting this year, and are ready to hit the ground running, then they should have no trouble walking away with 2 points from this game.
The first true test for the Jackets this season will be on the 12th when Boston makes the trip to Nationwide Arena. Boston came very close to winning Lord Stanley last year, but lost to Chicago in the Stanley Cup Finals. Zdeno Chara and company always make life hard on their opponent, and this game will be no different. There is no higher need in October for fans to #DefendNWA, than there is for this game.
After a short two day break, the CBJ will head out on their first multi-game road trip of the year, and it is going to be a tough one with stops in Detroit, Montreal and Washington. I would consider this trip a success if the Jackets can go 1-1-1 and get away with 3 points, but obviously, we will all be rooting for 3-0-0.
The October schedule ends with four home games, and the Jackets have to make the most of this homestand. Vancouver, New Jersey, Toronto and Anaheim are going to make these four straight games at home very interesting. All of these teams, with the exception of New Jersey, made the playoff cut last season and are tough to play against. If the Jackets are going to show that last season was really the prequal to the future, they need to step up and grab as many points as possible in these four games and show that they mean business.
I like this October schedule. It is very balanced in all forms, including home/away ratio and the toughness of the teams we will be facing. I believe the Jackets will leave October behind with a 6-4-1 record with 13 points.
See if your Blue Jackets can start off the 2013-2014 season with a winning record in October. Get Columbus Blue Jackets tickets here.