Columbus Blue Jackets Play Final Pre-All Star Break Game in Winnipeg


The Columbus Blue Jackets will bring a three-game road swing to an end as they head north of the border and make their only trip to Winnipeg of the season, as the Blue Jackets will not only close out the season-series with Winnipeg, but will also close out pre-All Star Game play.

The last time the two teams met in late November, the Jets flew out of Nationwide Arena with a 4-2 victory, thanks to a two-goal second period (which proved to be the difference) and a pair of power play goals from Evander Kane. And, while it wasn’t necessarily the coming out party for Michael Hutchison, he did play incredibly well in just his fifth game, making 32 saves and was rewarded with the 2nd star of the game. (Oddly enough, the only Blue Jacket to be named a star was Jordan Leopold, who had a goal. Yes. Jordan. Leopold.)

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This Columbus Blue Jackets rookie doesn't want to be forgotten
This Columbus Blue Jackets rookie doesn't want to be forgotten /

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  • Since then, the Jets have been red hot, sitting at third in the Central Division, and are on pace to make the playoffs for the first time since relocating from Atlanta (which is not a subject I will touch on…for I did that in our preview of the first meeting) and just the second time in franchise history. (I have a 2007 Southeast Division Champions hat in my room right now. Okay, THAT is the only thing I’ll say.) They also come into tonight on a four game winning streak.

    Remember that Hutchison kid who played so well against the Blue Jackets? Well, he’s done so well in his rookie campaign, that he not only sits in the top five in the NHL in save percentage, but has taken the starting job away from Ondrej Pavelec, and it’s now a platoon situation. But, with Pavs getting the last Jets start, I fully expect to see Hutchison in goal tonight.

    Now, onto the Jackets. In what continues to be the most bi-polar season the Blue Jackets have seen, they’re playing good hockey, and are looking to sweep this mini-road trip and head into the All Star break with a .500 record, which all things considered, would be pretty awesome. Ryan Johansen saw a 13-game point streak come to an end in Minnesota, so he’ll be looking to begin another one and Sergei Bobrovsky finally has a victory under his belt since signing his contract extension, and he was back to Bob-mode against the Wild, and he’ll look to continue that good play as well.

    Whatever HCTR did when he completely reshuffled the bottom lines has worked, and even things like putting Jeremy Morin and Josh Anderson on the top and second lines, respectively, have given this team a much needed but certainly unexpected spark (unexpected because who knew those would be the moves to get this team going again).

    Tonight is one of those games in which the Blue Jackets can prove just how much work they need to do to get to where they want to be. The Jets aren’t “elite,” but they are darn good and are garnering a lot of respect around the league. Lets see what unfolds in our last game before the All Star break, everybody! Puck drops at nine.