Breaking down the "Metro race"

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 7:00 AM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com

It's appropriate that the Blue Jackets resume their playoff push with a Metropolitan Division game on Thursday night. The New Jersey Devils, a team that had made up some ground in the standings and was playing well entering the break, are very much in the conversation and they have one final chance to beat Columbus this season.

The first game post-Olympics is a divisional game, but how about this: in a weird scheduling quirk, the Blue Jackets won't play another Metro opponent until Mar. 18 when they face the Carolina Hurricanes at Nationwide Arena. After that game, Columbus plays four of its next six against division opponents and, as we know, it's a gigantic opportunity to both gain ground on and leap frog teams they're chasing.

How does the schedule break down for the Blue Jackets and the Metro? Let's examine.

NEW YORK RANGERS
32-24-3, 67 PTS.
REMAINING VS. CBJ: 3/21

The Rangers and Blue Jackets were a natural rivalry: the trades between the two teams, the seemingly-endless story lines between them...you name it. On the ice, it has not disappointed and all three games in the season series have been close games. New York won in regulation at Nationwide Arena back in November, while the Blue Jackets have won both games at Madison Square Garden (once in a shootout, once in regulation). The final meeting of the season is sure to have postseason implications, and with the Rangers having played one more game than Columbus, the Blue Jackets will have a chance to cut into the four points that currently separate them from New York.


PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
30-23-6, 66 PTS.
REMAINING VS. CBJ: 4/3

Speaking of rivalries and spirited games...the Blue Jackets and Flyers have made it pretty clear (through actions) that they aren't fond of each other. Philadelphia authored one of the season's greatest comebacks a couple months back, rallying from a 3-0 third-period deficit to beat Columbus in regulation at Wells Fargo Center. The Blue Jackets exacted some revenge with a pair of convincing home ice wins over the Flyers, who are three points ahead of them for third place in the Metropolitan Division.


CAROLINA HURRICANES
26-22-9, 61 PTS.
REMAINING VS. CBJ: 3/18, 3/29

The Hurricanes are one of two Metro teams (Pittsburgh being the other) that the Blue Jackets will play five time this season. So far, it's been an interesting season series and the Hurricanes used a come-from-behind win on Jan. 27 in Raleigh - with three third-period goals to come from a 2-0 deficit - to stun the Jackets and climb back within striking distance in the playoff race. Still on the schedule are two games, one in Columbus and one in Raleigh, that will go a long way toward deciding the final order in the division.


WASHINGTON CAPITALS
27-23-9, 63 PTS.
REMAINING VS. CBJ: NONE

What an entertaining season series it was between the Blue Jackets and Capitals. Washington drew first blood with a win in D.C. back in October and followed it up with an overtime win on home ice a month later. The Blue Jackets held serve at Nationwide Arena, winning a pair of lopsided decisions over a Capitals team that has struggled to find consistency this season. Tied in points with Columbus, the Capitals are a team to watch down the stretch - especially if they can get quality goaltending.


NEW JERSEY DEVILS
24-22-13, 61 PTS.
REMAINING VS. CBJ: 2/27

Some of the weirdest divisional games the Blue Jackets have played this year have come against the Devils; a 5-4 late win by Columbus in December seemed to get them going at a time when goal-scoring had been hard to come by, and a shootout win in New Jersey immediately following the Christmas break kept them on a roll entering 2014. Columbus is 3-0-0 this season against the Devils but the fourth and final meeting between them is a big one, and it just so happens to be the first game out of the break (you already knew this) on Thursday at the Prudential Center.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Johansen 82 33 30 3 63
J. Wisniewski 75 7 44 0 51
B. Dubinsky 76 16 34 5 50
C. Atkinson 79 21 19 -4 40
A. Anisimov 81 22 17 -2 39
N. Foligno 70 18 21 5 39
R. Umberger 74 18 16 -3 34
M. Letestu 82 12 22 1 34
J. Johnson 82 5 28 -7 33
B. Jenner 72 16 13 6 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 32 20 5 .923 2.38
C. McElhinney 10 11 1 .909 2.70
 
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