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And then there were 11: Blue Jackets eliminated

Apr 28, 2014, 10:07 PM EST

Sergei Bobrovsky AP

For more entries in this series, click here.

The Columbus Blue Jackets entered this season with the goal of making the playoffs for just the second time in their franchise’s history. When that happened, the question was if they would come away with their first playoff win. They did.

There were times when it looked like they would do more than that. The Blue Jackets managed two come-from-behind victories in the series to make the Penguins sweat. They still have never won a playoff series. That just gives them a new, higher goal for 2014-15.

  • Going into this season, the Blue Jackets’ offense was a concern. Would Nathan Horton be healthy for enough of the season to make a difference? Could Marian Gaborik find his game in Columbus? The answer to both of those questions was largely no, but the Blue Jackets still averaged 2.76 goals per game, up from 2.40 in 2013. Ryan Johansen, 21, was a big reason for that as he broke out with with 33 goals and 63 points in 82 games.
  • It also helped that Columbus finally got a relatively healthy season out of defenseman James Wisniewski, who tied for eighth among NHL blueliners with 51 points in 75 contests.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky struggled early in the campaign after winning the Vezina Trophy in 2013, but bounce back to post a strong 2.38 GAA and .923 save percentage in 58 starts. Columbus seems to have found a netminder that can lead them for years to come.
  • For the most part, Brandon Dubinsky really shined in playoffs, both offensively and defensively. He managed to hold his own against Sidney Crosby at times and ended up with six points in six games.
  • The fact that neither team could hold a lead was a big storyline in the first round series, but it was a problem for Columbus throughout the season. The Blue Jackets went 22-5-3 when leading after one period, which might sound great, but actually put them 20th in the league. They had the 18th best winning percentage when leading after 40 minutes.
  • At the time of elimination, the Blue Jackets led the lead with three shorthanded goals in the playoffs. They scored nine in the regular season.

  1. cheesesteak75 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    LGP!

  2. lowenni - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    They have nothing to be ashamed of. They put up a great fight against a great team. I was on the edge of my seat when they brought tonights game to 1 goal–disappointing that they ultimately fell short. This team is trending in the right direction, and it’s great to see hockey being successful in Ohio finally. The fans in Games 3 and 4 were fantastic and the building was shaking. Despite being a fan of their divisional rival, the Caps, I’ve totally been rooting for the Jackets all season long and am glad they made the playoffs. Go Jackets!!

    • killerpgh - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:24 PM

      I would say all 29 other teams fans (excluding Penguins fans) were rooting for the BJ’s. Some just hate the Penguins, but mostly the fact that not many fans hate the BJ’s. 99% of the fans don’t hate teams that struggle and kind of hope for their success until they get successful. No one really hated the Pittsburgh Pirates last year because they sucked for so long and people usually root for the underdog unless they have a rooting interest for the favorite. I would love to see the BJ’s continue their success and become a huge rivalry with the Penguins. Meeting in the playoff will make that happen and do nothing but good things for the BJ’s fan base.

      • Tyler - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:46 PM

        I’m a Penguins fan but I’ll say this.. I love BJ’s.

    • mangoman1966 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:33 PM

      If your a caps fan you may wanna jump ships immediately…caps franchise is a mess.gonna take a long time to clean up that mess

      • lowenni - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:38 PM

        That’s unrelated to this post, but I don’t think it will take a long time. There are certainly tough decisions that have to be made, but with projected top-6 talents coming in Wilson, Kuznetsov, Burakovsky, and Riley Barber, along with projected top-4 defenseman in Carrick, Orlov, Nate Schmidt, and Madison Bowey, I’m not too worried about the Caps future. We can all point to Ovechkin’s plus minus but he’s still a 50 goal scorer, Backstrom is still an elite center, Carlson is emerging as a fantastic defenseman, and there are solid depth players in Ward, Chimera, Johansson, etc. The franchise needs retooling and currently is a mess but McPhee is a great drafter. The franchise is still set for success for a while imo.

  3. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Go Blackhawks !

  4. numbcracker2109 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Imagine if they had a healthy Horton

    • lowenni - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      Who knows what could have happened. I thought he was very dissappointing during the regular season, injury aside, but he without a doubt would have been an improvement over Jack Skille. I think that could’ve cost them a game or this series. Jack Skille may be a solid depth option, but a 1st line winger he is not, and he brought down Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner’s offensive effectiveness in this series. Even if Horton hadn’t lived up to his expectations during the postseason I think there are three or four players who should’ve played over Jack Skille. Costly and questionable decision there from Richards.

  5. 19to77 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Dubinsky was incredible in this series. He’s had flashes of greatness before but nothing like this. He was a force every time he hit the ice. Hitting, scoring, passing, backchecking… he was just everywhere.

    Also: hats off to Columbus fans. Nationwide was deafening. You couldn’t even hear the whistles sometimes. I loved it. They’ve been waiting way too long for this. Look forward to the future, guys. It’s gonna be a fun ride.

    • broadstreetsbaddest88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:12 AM

      I thought the same thing, Dubinsky was on a another level this series he’s really stepped it up an looked good. They should be giving him the C. Them fans were some of the loudest I’ve seen in awhile. They pumped them up real good. They were standing for most of the game goin nuts. That was awesome to see. Columbus deserves every bit of the success they had this season. Was one of the Hardest workin teams all year. They came so close to sending this to game 7. What a battle they gave the pens

      • toiletclown - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:20 AM

        Nationwide Arena will be back to half capacity come October.

      • broadstreetsbaddest88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:22 AM

        Yeah just like the pens “igloo” was for the first 40 years. Atleast they were only around for 14 years an are starting to build a great fanbase. It took the pens 3rd stanely cup to.

      • miketoasty - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        As a Pens fan I completely disagree with Toiletclown. It takes one good playoff push for an entire city to become hooked, and the thing about the BJ’s is that they will still have most of their core in place next year but with more experience, the team should be competitive all year long.

        Looks like we have a great rivalry starting between the Pens and BJs and I couldn’t be happier. Rivalries make the game that much more fun to watch!

        Also, I just wanted to throw in an extra note about Dubinsky. Guy is an absolute stud. He was dirty, he was physical, he was a presence on the ice every shift, won a ton of faceoffs, everything you want from a player when the postseason starts. Him and Johanson make one hell of a one two punch at center.

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