I both love and hate when pundits try to predict season outcome. When their prediction matches up with your thoughts on how a season is going to go, we love it. When they pick against what you believe to be a common sense approach, we hate it. They are never 100% correct, nor shall I be. So here is my first crack at predicting the Blue Jackets season. I will keep a record of how I have fared. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.
*Btw, I landed on thirteen simply by looking at the schedule and giving myself the best gap between games to do the next group of games, which looks to also be 13.
Ten of the first thirteen games are home/away series against the Bruins, Sharks, Stars, Ducks, and Blues. In the three remaining games we play the Blackhawks, Kings, and Canadiens (Habs).
HOW WE FARED LAST YEAR:
Look, we all know last year was bad. High expectation, immediate deflation. Bad. But, even though only two teams in these first thirteen games didn’t make the playoffs last year (Bruins and Habs), we didn’t fare to badly against most of these opponents last year and we should be improved this year.
Here is how last year looked against these teams:
Boston – Won at home, lost two in overtime (one in a shootout) in Boston.
San Jose – Split the series one and one, both teams winning the away game.
Chicago – Split the series, but our win against them came late in the season when the playoffs were a sure thing for them and the win came in overtime.
Dallas – Split series, both teams won their home games. Neither game was close (6-3 win at home, 5-1 loss away)
Los Angeles – Both were 3-2 games, we won at home and lost in overtime in LA.
Anaheim – Split series here too. Home win was in a shootout and we also went 2-2 on the PK
Montreal – 2-1 Jackets. Habs had a power play goal in all three games played.
St. Louis – Split series agaaaaain. Both teams won their home games, in the Jackets home win, it had blowout potential as we went 0-4 on PP opportunities.
FIRST THIRTEEN GAMES PREDICTION:
10/13 Bruins – Jackets Win. Home opener, defense stifles Marchand and Bergeron, Boston’s defense continues to be porous.
10/15 Sharks – Jackets Win. Tight game (perhaps OT) but CBJ overcome to squeak to 2-0.
10/21 Blackhawks – Loss. Blackhawks fans travel well to Nationwide (I hate this) and their firepower is too much for our young defense delivering our first loss of the season.
10/22 @ Stars – Loss. Dallas had a +37 goal differential last year and I don’t think we come away with one here in their dojo.
10/25 @Kings – Jackets Win. We always play the Kings tight, and historically have done a little better than ok on Western road trip in recent years.
10/27 @Sharks – Jackets Win. We surprise and get some attention from Wyshynski who reminisces about how great Columbus was for the All-Star game. Pierre LeBrun continues to ignore us.
10/28 @Ducks – Loss. Anaheim was 25-10-6 at home last year. Return a solid team that won the Pacific division last year.
11/1 Stars – Jackets Win. Defense is starting to click this year, Dubinsky nets a late third period game winner.
11/4 Habs – Jackets Win. Habs rest Carey Price and pay the price.
11/5 @Blues – Loss. Blues are great at home, winning streak ends before it gets going.
11/9 Ducks – Loss. Has the feel of a 1-0 or 2-1 game. Jared Boll tribute night.
11/10 @Bruins – Jackets Win. Our strengths this year match perfectly with their weaker areas. Beat the Bruins in our first two, of three total, meetings.
11/12 – Blues – Jackets Win. Dialed in at home just in time for our first in division game with Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
Predicted Record – 8-4-1
It takes 45+ wins (and a couple OT loss points) to get to the playoffs and for the first time in recent memory, the Jackets give Columbus fans hope that we can get another 32+ wins out of the next 69 games.