Tonight is probably the biggest regular season game in Jackets history, rivaled only by the win that propelled them to their first and so far only Playoff appearance. Tonight, the Jackets take on Metropolitan Division rival the New York Rangers in a battle for the Eastern Conference Playoff spots.
The Jackets and the Rangers are tied for the third Metropolitan Division Playoff spot, with 78 points apiece. Both are chasing second place Philadelphia, who won last night to put themselves three points ahead of New York and Columbus with 81 points. The Jackets and Rangers are chased close behind by the Washington Capitals in the Metro and the Detroit Red Wings for possible Wild Card spots in the East. Basically, the team that wins this game will be on the right track for the Playoffs, while the loser could be playing catch-up in the last stretch of the season.
Not only is this game important for the standings, it’s important for the players and fans as well. New York and Columbus have traded what seems like half their rosters in the past few seasons, and have played some fun, intense games this season. This has lead to a small rivalry between these teams. The kind of rivalry that could be lit on fire with an exciting performance in a game like tonight’s.
Moreover, tonight marks the first time former CBJ captain Rick Nash will return to Nationwide Arena since being traded. He missed the Rangers games in Columbus earlier this season due to injury, and now makes his reappearance in Columbus tonight, in what is probably the most important game for both teams this season.
This game is looking to be an important, exciting game for the Jackets and their fans, are you ready? Go Jackets!