This is the latest edition in 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, and take a look at my previous prediction. Please, feel free to comment or give your own predictions here or on twitter.
October started off rough, but seemed to get better game by game. When the season started, the Blue Jackets defense looked as if they had never been in the same room together and the offensive zone passing was horrific. After the amazing end to last season, the first few games of this season was soul crushing to the fans.
Fast forward a few games, and while the defense still had some issues, the offense started to come alive. One-touch passing, forechecking and quality shots started to become the norm. Now that October is over, although the record is just under .500, the fans really have a team they can get behind.
I predicted that the Blue Jackets would finish October with a 6-4-1 record (13 points). In reality, they came up just a bit shy with a record of 5-6-0 (10 points).
November is jam-packed with 16 games (7 home, 9 away), and it starts off with a bang as if the schedule itself was fired from the Nationwide Arena cannon. First off is a home and home against none other than the first place Penguins. The latter game against the Penguins starts a four game home stand in Columbus. The rest of the home stand will have the Jackets playing 3 games in 5 days against the Senators, Rangers and Islanders respectfully. These games are a great opportunity for the Jackets, as they could easily win those last three at home.
On the 12th, Columbus will hit the road to play their first road game in 11 days in Washington against the Capitals. Despite the Capitals record (currently 5-7-0), this is going to be a tough matchup, and will be quickly followed up two days later with an even tougher battle against the Bruins in the TD Garden.
On the 17th, the Jackets will head home for a game against Montreal before heading off on a nine-day 5-game tour of Canada in which they will play Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and finally, Toronto on the 25th.
November ends with two games at home against Nashville and Edmonton, and finally yet another game against the Bruins in Boston.
As I said before, the way November starts is going to be tough, but it also has some very favorable matchups for the Jackets against some weaker opponents. If the Jackets can win one of the two against Pittsburgh, I think it will inject more energy into the team, which will only help them to win the next three at home. How great would it be to start the month 4-1 with a four game home sweep?
In my opinion the toughest games the Blue Jackets will face will be the two aforementioned games against the Pens, the two against the Bruins in Boston and the game in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.
Not that I think this will happen, but even if the Jackets lose all five of those games, they are still in a great position to be over .500 for the month and on the season.
There are a few highlights to point out as well: James Wisniewski seems that he is finally starting to come alive this season, which has been desperately needed; and if Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky can continue with the momentum they have had, they could really light a fire under the team and increase productivity on the ice exponentially.
I say the Blue Jackets go 8-5-3 (19 points) in the month of November.
Do you agree, disagree or want to add your two cents? I want to know what the readers think.