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Break up the streaking Blue Jackets!

Nov 26, 2011, 12:43 AM EDT

Rick Nash, Vinny Prospal, Jason Pominville AP

The Columbus Blue Jackets have officially climbed out of the NHL basement and passed the title of “cellar dweller” to the New York Islanders with a 5-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. The goals came quick and often as the Blue Jackets jumped out to a four-goal lead before the Sabres were able to put a puck past Curtis Sanford. By that time, it was too late. But just in case the Sabres had their hopes set on a memorable comeback, Rick Nash scored his second goal of the game near the end of the 2nd period to put the final nail in the coffin.

The win is just the latest positive result in an impressive run as the Blue Jackets look to turn around their season. They’ve earned at least a point in six of their last seven games, including points in points in each of their last five. Their 4-1-2 record over the last seven games is impressive on its own, but even more impressive when put in its proper context after Columbus’ historically bad start.

How bad was the Blue Jackets start? It took them until their ninth game to get their first win of the season. They could only manage two pathetic victories in their first 15 games. Not only were they losing, they were losing the vast majority of their games in regulation. The 2-12-1 record was not the kind of start the Blue Jackets’ ownership had in mind when they signed James Wisniewski to a $33 million contract and acquired Jeff Carter (who is starting an 11-year, $58 million contract this season).

The Blue Jackets play over the last two weeks? This is more like what they expected. With six wins and 15 points, the Blue Jackets are only a point away from Anaheim in hopes of climbing out of last place in the Western Conference.

Columbus now sits at 6-13-3 through the first quarter of the season. The record still looks bad, but it’s not nearly as bad as it did two weeks ago. Up next, the Blue Jackets will get to face off against another hot Western Conference team: the St. Louis Blues. Curiously, the Blues exploded on their current streak when they hired Ken Hitchcock away from the Blue Jackets—a man who was heavily rumored to be in line to take over for Scott Arniel behind the Blue Jackets’ bench.

Much has been made of Hitchcock’s ability to turn around the Blues—but his departure may have helped Columbus get back to business as well. After losing their first game after St. Louis’ announcement, Columbus went on their current 4-1-2 streak.

Now if they can only continue this pace for the rest of the season, they may be able to get themselves back into the playoff hunt by the all-star break.

  1. east96st - Nov 26, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    “Much has been made of Hitchcock’s ability to turn around the Blues—but his departure may have helped Columbus get back to business as well.”

    1) I think it had a LOT more to do with the fact that they finally got Steve “I’ll turn you into a scoring champion” Mason out of goal
    2) Columbus has a long and rich tradition of going on an extended streak and just when you start to believe, they collapse into the hole once again.

    I will say this team is for real when they finally make the playoffs and manage not to get swept in the first round. Not asking for the Cup, though it would be nice, just win a series. Until then, pardon me for being cynical, but I’ve seen this movie before and the ending always blows.

  2. tcclark - Nov 26, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    Steve Nash should’ve hit steve mason in the face a loooooong time ago

    • dccircuitboy - Nov 26, 2011 at 2:56 AM

      Don’t know how Steve Nash could have hit Steve Mason. Steve Nash plays basketball.

      • east96st - Nov 26, 2011 at 1:34 PM

        Absolutely correct, dc. Of course, it then conjures up the question, “If Steve Nash DID bring a basketball onto the ice and took a shot on goal with said basketball, could Mason make the save?” I say “No”.

  3. tcclark - Nov 26, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    Wow… my bad, Rick Nash… at least Steve Nash is Canadian

    • contraryguy - Nov 26, 2011 at 2:55 PM

      put down the shovel, the hole is getting deep enough lol

      Love the headline… watched the highlights on NHL network last night at the family homestead… told Dad the CBJ were no longer at the bottom… “so what do they win for that?”

      • east96st - Nov 26, 2011 at 4:57 PM

        contrary – Tell dad what they won is a taxpayer bailout, the excuse to keep Mike Priest doing the same miserable job he has done for years, and another 11 years of bad hockey. Actually, it’s the holidays. Don’t tell him that. He’s a fellow Jackets fan, so he’s suffered enough.

  4. lsxphotog - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    Good to see them playing good hockey and winning some games.

  5. spokedjackets - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    After a terrible (understatement) start, its good to see the Jackets getting some recognition on having the heart to turn it around. It was a nice article to read, although its a pretty glaring ommision that Steve Mason taking a slapper to the dome was really the start of the turnaround.

  6. zonedogz - Nov 26, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    Sabres will play the injury card as excuse to try and hide the fact that they are a soft, over-rated team.

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