Dec 10, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) celebrates his game winning goal against the New Jersey Devils during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Columbus defeated New Jersey 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets Finding Success In Spite Of Injuries

Dec 12, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen (19) shoots and scores in front of New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Columbus won 4-2.
Photo By: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

It is a given to say that this season did not start out the way that Columbus Blue Jackets fans anticipated.  My previous articles (such as the one found here) have gone into that in depth.  To make things worse, a string of injuries have depleted the Jackets roster, and have caused Columbus to recall players from the minor leagues.  The most recent recall was Jeremy Smith being called up to play backup to Mike McKenna after a lower body injury to Curtis McElhenny, and a groin injury to Vezina trophy winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

That sounded a bit confusing, but for those keeping score at home, you read that correctly.  The Blue Jackets are down to their 3rd and 4th string goalies, all due to injury.

In all, there are 7 players on the Jackets injury report.  Included in this list are the 4 highest paid players on the team, Marian Gaborik, Nathan Horton,  James Wisniewski and Sergei Bobrovsky.

As bad as that sounds (and it sounds real bad), the Blue Jackets have sparked recent success despite the mass of injuries.  The team is 6-4-0 in their last ten games, and 4-1 in their last five.  Within those last 5 games, 9 different players have scored 15 goals, and the Blue Jackets have outscored their opponents 15-8.

Nov 29, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) makes a skate save from the shot of Edmonton Oilers left wing Ryan Smyth (94) during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Columbus defeated Edmonton 4-2. Photo by: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

There are several players that have really come into form lately, but the most notable are Nick Foligno, Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert and Ryan Johansen.  Their play recently has been stellar and is a major reason for the teams recent success.

Today’s Gameday Edition article written by Union And Blue’s own Mike Majeski had this to say:

Matt Calvert has goals in three consecutive games, whereas his linemate Cam Atkinson has six points in his last four games. Ryan Johansen has nine points in a career high seven game point streak.

The question that remains is, Why?  After starting the month of November 1-7, why has the teams offensive production increased so much amid so many key injuries?  And, after struggling to get shots on goal in the first third of the season, how are they making it look so much easier now?

If this bruised Blue Jackets team can compete at this level, then what are they capable of when a healthy Gaborik, Horton and Bobrovsky are back on the ice?  I think that the future is very bright in Columbus, and the sun is starting to shine.  It was only one year ago when the Blue Jackets were a playoff afterthought, and had the historic 19-5-5 run at the end of the season which had the city abuzz.  Could it be something similar that is taking place now?  The cards that they are showing us make it very easy to believe just that.

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