Though there were trials and tribulations, the Columbus Blue Jackets shined in the toughest week of their season.
The second full week in January was always going to be a huge challenge for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The schedule was packed with four games in six nights, including two on the road. Three of the four games were against the top Stanley Cup Contenders and the fourth game came on the back end of a back-to-back with travel.
The schedule was always going to be daunting but the week became even more challenging with the Sergei Bobrovsky drama that played out after the Tampa Bay game leaving the team without it’s Vezina winning goalie for a game.
The Jackets shined though going 3-1-0 over the four game stretch including two wins over division rivals. Sure, the week started off rough with a 4-0 loss in Tampa Bay. Bob was pulled in the third period and then sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday night there was an “incident” that led to Bob being pseudo-suspended.
That forced Joonas Korpisalo into action against the Nashville Predators and he was spectacular. Korpi stopped 32 of 35 shots and gave the Jackets the chance to win the game in overtime against the Central leading Preds. Korpi made some spectacular saves and was one of the Jackets best players on Thursday.
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His excellent play earned him the next start on Saturday night in D.C. against the Metro leading Capitals. Again Korpi was sensational stopping 32 of 33 shots and leading the team to a 2-1 victory. Although he let in a weak goal late in the third, he was a solid backstop the entire evening and deservedly earned the win in overtime.
After all of the dramatics surrounding the Bobrovsky “incident”, travel from Florida to Ohio to D.C. and back, and playing three of the leagues top five teams, the Jackets could have mailed it on Sunday night as they hosted the New York Rangers. But the squad rallied and scored enough goals to outlast their Metro division rival in a sloppy game where it was clear both teams were playing tired.
The 7-5 win for the Columbus Blue Jackets capped a magnificent week for the franchise that could have easily gone the other way. After the blowout loss in Tampa the team rallied and ended the week with six of a possible eight points on their way to second place in the division. The performance was necessary as the top of the division stayed hot with the Islanders, Penguins, and Caps all surging.
The Jackets emerged from Contender Week 2019 shining from a great performance. This team can win in low scoring games, shootouts, with their backup goalie and on the road against the Stanley Cup champs. This team should be feeling confident and with an easy schedule heading into the All-Star break, could enter their nine day break as division leaders.