Mar 16, 2013, 9:59 PM EDT
The Columbus Blue Jackets remain red-hot and Sergei Bobrovsky remains the main reason why.
The 24-year-old Russian netminder continued his torrid March on Saturday, stopping all 39 Phoenix Coyotes shots – and both shootout attempts – to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 shootout win. (Mike Smith experienced the bittersweet shutout loss, making all 23 saves.)
Columbus is now 6-0-4 in its last 10 games, with “Bob” going 6-0-3 in that span. (Steve Mason dropped a 4-3 OT loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on March 1.)
Bobrovsky now has two shutouts, allowed one goal four times (somehow losing twice after regulation) and allowed two goals once in his hot run. Overall, he has a 9-6-5 record with an outstanding .932 save percentage and 2.00 GAA.
While many believe that this implies a bright future for the Blue Jackets, the present is a surprising consideration, too.
As of this writing, their 28 standings points leaves them just two points behind seventh-ranked Los Angeles (30) and eighth place San Jose (also 30), although both California rivals hold three games in hand. Beating Phoenix was significant in that it keeps the ninth-ranked Coyotes within their grasp at 30 points, as well.
Clearly, Columbus still has a way to go to truly contend for a playoff spot, but teams must take them – and possibly their goalie of the future – seriously for the first time in a long time.
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