The Columbus Blue Jackets, after slumping hard since just after the trade deadline, have taken down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 in their third meeting in two weeks.
Relieved is the best way to put it, the Columbus Blue Jackets have spent the last few weeks wondering what had happened to the unbelievable offense that was clicking so well against top tier teams like San Jose. The team was roughened up by Edmonton, Winnipeg and Pittsburgh twice and the questions of uncertainty were flying around the locker room.
Sergei Bobrovsky, or Sergio as NBC Sports Network called him last Thursday, had been the center of controversy after losing his starting spot to Joonas Korpisalo and spending that evening in the PPG Paints Arena luxury boxes watching his own teammates. The fans were even calling for Keith Kinkaid to have a shot against the Penguins. After all, Kinkaid has yet to start a game for the Union Blue and his track record against Pittsburgh is heavily successful.
Bobrovsky, however, answered all questions he needed too after saving 28 of 29 shots, only letting in one goal against what has been his kryptonite the past few seasons. With a few highlight reel saves, one can only hope Bobrovsky can put these few weeks behind him and head into the final stretch back to himself.
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The offense finally came alive, led by Cam Atkinson who put in two against the Penguins, pushing him to the third best scoring season in Jackets history, behind two seasons of Rick Nash‘s early Jackets years.
Matt Duchene played his best game as a Blue Jacket so far with important plays on both ends of the ice, including setting up Ryan Dzingel, who found Oliver Bjorkstrand wide open in front for the 3-1 lead late in the 3rd period.
The Jackets currently hold the 2nd wild card position, behind the Penguins themselves. 8 points currently separate the Jackets from first in the division, and while it seems out of reach, its important to set the standard high this late in the season, or else the division will eat you alive.
After two of the toughest weeks in franchise history, this team has the New York Islanders, the Boston Bruins, and the Carolina Hurricanes to play this week. Two of which sit in front of the Jackets in the Metropolitan playoff race. There are 6 important points on the line, and if the Jackets hope to survive to see late April, they need to start taking them fast.