I have never been so happy to be wrong about something. In my prediction for the last thirteen games I had us going 8-4-1 for a predicted overall record of 15-8-3. Compared to the last couple of years, this would have been glorious and satisfying – but we have out done ourselves thus far. 17-5-4. 17-5-4. You read that right. 17-5-4 with a 10-1-2 run in the last thirteen games. Possession is increasing, as to shut up the corsi snobs, shots attempted is going through the roof (safe is death), and our transition from defense to offense looks the best it ever has been – and I am talking about since the club’s inception.
It is an exciting time to be a Blue Jacket fan and coming off the divisional win against the surging Islanders (and being in Nationwide for it) has made the first (a little under a) third of the season unbelievably enjoyable. Let’s take a look at our opponents over the next thirteen games and try to make another prediction.
We play four divisional games in this stretch and two back to backs. This run of thirteen games ends in early January with a back to back with the Rangers and Flyers. We only draw one team twice over this period (Edmonton). Of the 12 opponents we face eight of them are in the top three within their given division, including all three of the leaders in the Metro division as of this writing (NYR, PIT, PHI) although we have games in hand on all of them.
@ Edmonton – This has the feeling of an overtime game for me. Excited for the Jackets and every opportunity to watch the NHL point leader Connor McDavid (12-27-39) skate. Jackets win in OT in Edmonton.
@ Calgary – I think this is a win, but I have gone back and forth. Jackets normally play well on western trips, but this year has been anything but typical. Jackets win.
@ Vancouver – This feels like a trap game. We have been playing exceptionally against greater talent and relaxing against lesser foes. This game feels like an OTL to me.
Los Angeles – Back in Nationwide the Jackets are the fifth game of the Kings 9 game road stretch. Jonathan Quick may still be out, we defend NWA – Jackets win avenging our early season OTL against them back in October.
Pittsburgh – There will be a lot of attention paid to this game and for better or worse it will be seen as a test of how good the CBJ really are. The Penguins are playing some of the best hockey in the league (seven skaters scored last night). Club needs the fans to help defend NWA, Jackets win 4-3 on the late game heroics of Brandon Saad.
Montreal – Carey Price in net and they have not forgotten the 10 goal drubbing we gave them last time. This one probably doesn’t go our way against a pumped-up Habs team and the next night after a tough game against Pittsburgh.
Boston – Why, oh why, do we play so poorly against Boston? We don’t lose two in a row, beat Boston (finally) back on the winning track.
@ Winnipeg – Jackets drop one that isn’t expected to be an L in Winnipeg.
@ Minnesota – Dubnyk is playing out of his mind currently. Jackets win a close one with McIllhenny in net.
Edmonton – McDavid comes to Columbus, falls in love with Schmidt’s lunch buffet, leaves with a loss. Jackets win.
@ Washington – We have gotten them twice. Don’t think it will be a third time in their place. Jackets lose 4-2.
Rangers – New York looks to avenge their early season loss and keep Columbus down in the metro division. Doesn’t work. 4th line magic pushes CBJ to the win.
Philadelphia – Much like the Montreal game, coming off a tough game with the Rangers the night before costs Columbus the win in a tight game.
13 Game Prediction – 8-4-1
NOTE: I did not mean for my prediction to be the same for each thirteen games, it has just worked out that way. I try to look at every game individually and find it somewhat funny that 8-4-1 per each thirteen is where I have landed all three times.
Let’s Go Jackets.