The Columbus Blue Jackets currently sit at the top of the Metropolitan Division and the NHL with a 28-7-4 record and 60 points. Columbus was powered to the top of the standings by rattling off a 16 game win streak, just one behind the 1992-1993 Penguins for the longest in history. The Jackets’ win streak ended last Thursday with a 5-0 loss to the Washington Capitals, the first of two straight losses (only the second time all year they’ve lost two in a row) before an overtime win over the Flyers on Sunday.
The Blue Jackets were powered to 16 straight wins by their power play and goaltending play. Over the entire season, Columbus has been the most successful team with a man advantage. They have successfully converted 26.7% of their power play chances which is over 3% better than the second-place Lightning. The special teams matchup will be fun to watch as the number one power play and number one penalty kill units will face off.
This season the goaltending duo of Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney have been successful, particularly Bobrovsky. Their .937 ES Sv% is fifth best in the league and their 84 goals against is the third least. Despite general good play, the Blue Jackets have waived backup McElhinney after a rough start against the New York Rangers. McElhinney has a 2-1-2 record in the NHL with a .924 sv% and a 2.34 GAA.
Starting tonight, Columbus will see how well Anton Forsberg can back up Bobrovsky moving forward. Forsberg has a career NHL record of 1-7-0 with a .882 Sv% and a 2.01 GAA, although he did go on a 9-0 streak last year as the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate Lake Erie Monsters (now the Cleveland Monsters) went on a run to the Calder Cup.
- Since their first loss since the month of November, the Blue Jackets have gone 1-2-0 and come into Carolina trying to win a second game straight. Fortunately for the Carolina Hurricanes, the Jackets are 12-3-3 in road games which accounts for over half of their total regulation and overtime losses.
- Zach Werenski is flying under the radar as a rookie this season but is quietly putting together a great year. The 19-year-old from the University of Michigan has 25 points (6g, 19a) in 39 games. The rookie has struggled in 2017, though, with just one assist since January 1st.
- The Hurricanes lead the all-time series with the Blue Jackers with a 14-10-2 record (7-5-2 at home). The Canes have earned at least one point in 10 of the last 11 meetings winning four of the last five.
- Bobrovsky has a 6-5-0 career record against the Hurricanes with one shutout and a 2.34 GAA which is higher than his season 2.00 GAA. Anton Forsberg has a 0-1-0 record against the Canes with a 3.10 GAA.
- The Blue Jackets +47 goal differential is the best in the league and nine goals better than the second place Minnesota Wild who has a +38 rating.
- Cam Atkinson leads the team in both points (39) and goals (19) with a point per game level of production. Atkinson has been effective in all manpower situations. When on the power play, he has scored nine goals and 19 points. While shorthanded he has also scored two goals.