Week Four: November 19th-25th
Buckle up folks, this week could be an ugly one for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team starts the week after a long flight from Carolina in Toronto. The Monday November 19th matchup will be the first time the Jackets get a look at one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference.
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The addition of John Tavares makes the Leafs a team almost impossible to match up against. They have incredible depth, a top 10 NHL goalie and a formidable home ice advantage. This one will be tough for the Jackets to pull out.
If they don’t win on Monday, they wont have to wait long to get revenge. The Jackets next bout will be a home game against the same Maple Leafs. This scheduling oddity at least gives the Jackets three full days off in between games while the Leafs have to fly to Carolina before the Friday game.
That game will be played on the Friday after Thanksgiving and the crowd will be sparse. Thanksgiving is a time of exodus for Columbus folks as many in this town are first generation residences with their extended and older portions of their family living in Cleveland, Cincinnati or other “older” cities in Ohio.
Plus this will be the cheapest game Toronto fans get to see this year outside of their journeys to Ottawa and Canadian Thanksgiving is in October. I expect the crowd to be at least 50/50 Maple Leaf fans and for attendance to low. It will certainly be an odd stadium atmosphere for this big matchup.
The schedule though doesn’t get easier after the two games agains the Leafs. The Jackets have to turn around the next night and play in Pittsburgh against the Penguins. Expect a run or two at former Jacket Jack Johnson after his absurd remarks regarding the lack of winning culture in Columbus.
The team will be fired up for this one and I expect the Jackets to get a win in the Steel City for the first time since November 13th of 2015.