Keys To Victory: Crucial Stretch Upcoming


So the Jackets have won back-to-back affairs with the Panthers. That’s great for morale in the locker room, but nothing would give us the boost we need like pulling off  some key wins in the next few weeks. The next few games include tough opposition such as the Lightning, Capitals, Flyers, and Penguins. Stretches like these prove what a team is made of. A little revenge against the Lightning wouldn’t be so bad. Division Wins against the Caps and Flyers would do wonders for our playoff position. And please Hockey Gods, I’d love to beat those freaking Penguins. All of that is purely talk right now, but here are some Keys To Victory for YOUR  Columbus Blue Jackets.

Dec 4, 2014; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson (44) and Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Jack Skille (10) collide in the third period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Keys To Victory

Tampa Bay Lightning – Oh boy, what can you say about the Lightning? They hold a record of 18-6-3 and are 1st in the Atlantic Division. They are 1st in the NHL in Goals per Game, 9th in Goals Against, and 5th in Power Play Percentage. They are a daunting team to defend and they LOVE to light up the scoreboard. It’s no surprise that Steven Stamkos is on a tear. He leads the team in goals (16) and points (32). The Tampa offense revolves around him. That’s where the Jackets have to start. Establish a physical game early, make them work for every opportunity, and stick a man on Stamkos and don’t let go. It’s not going to be pretty, but we don’t expect that from the Jackets. It’ll be difficult, but the Jackets have to be physical if they want to win this game.

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    • Philadelphia Flyers – The Flyers come in struggling. 8-13-4 and 6th in the Metro has some doubts Flying in Flyer nation. No matter the confidence level, Philly will play a tough game. The Jackets have seen it this season. The Flyers standings are unimpressive. 16th in Goals For, 24th in Goals Against, but 4th in Power Play Percentage. The Jackets have to stay out of the box. There is one area where the Flyers have been exploited over and over. Their Penalty Kill is dead last in the NHL. The Jackets have to come out firing early in this game and force the Flyers to make mental mistakes. If we get them in the box early and often, I smell an easy victory for the Jackets.
    • Washington Capitals – The Caps have been a roller coaster team so far this season. They come in 11-10-4 and are 4th in the Metro. Like the Flyers, they are also unimpressive in the rankings. 12th in Goals For, 19th in Goals Against, and 28th in Penalty Kill Percentage. Their bread and butter this year has been on the Power Play. 2nd in the NHL, this unit thrives behind star Alex Ovechkin. Mental mistakes MUST be avoided by the Jackets. The Caps will make us pay on the Power Play. The Caps can match our physical style. Bob’s gotta steal some, but that’s what Bob does best. Take away the slot. Make them force shots from the outside and we’re in good position to get back in the playoff picture.