Timeline Of The Columbus Blue Jackets Season
A timeline of the season for the Columbus Blue Jackets covering everything. Starting back in October with opening night and ending in April with the alarming skid. Look back at all the fan favorites and record breaking moments.
October 13th 2016 – Opening night:
Excitement was in the air in Columbus on opening night. The city was happy to see the Blue Jackets return to the ice. However, optimism was not in the air that night as the Blue Jackets had just came off an awful season. The 2015-2016 season saw head coach Todd Richards get shown the door after the Blue Jackets started of 0-7. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had an awful season going 15-19-1, the only losing season in his career. Bobrovsky also only made 37 appearances with a 2.75 goals against average. The Blue Jackets had the third overall pick in the draft and chose Pierre-Luc Dubois. This was a surprise to most experts as he would not make an impact right away.
Many doubted if head coach John Tortorella would be a good fit. His last job in Vancouver ended after only one season and much controversy. Many people were also calling for general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen and vice-president of hockey operations John Davidson to be fired if the season failed. Even with all this fans still packed Nationwide Arena to watch their Blue Jackets on opening night. The Blue Jacket came out on fire going up 3-1 but then gave up five unanswered goals. The Blue Jackets lost opening night 6-3 and were booed off the ice by their home crowd.
October 21st – First sign:
Facing the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus was in danger of losing its third consecutive game to start the season. The Blue Jackets would get out to a 3-1 lead heading into the final period. Blackhawks forward Richard Panik scored with 5:54 to play in the third to make it a one goal game. This is where fans saw the first sign that this Columbus team could be good. Late in the third Chicago had a power-play and pulled goalie Corey Crawford to make it 6-on-4. Bobrovsky was excellent during the power-play and showed signs of confidence he did not have last season.
This is where having a coach like Tortorella really helps. The Blue Jackets could have gone into a shell thinking it was just like last year after losing the first two games of the season at home. Instead, the Blue Jackets got back up and held off a good Chicago team late in third to get the first win of the season.
November 4th – It’s starting to come together:
The Blue Jackets entered that Friday night with back to back wins and a red-hot Bobrovsky who had two shutouts in the last five games. The Montreal Canadiens had won their previous eight games heading into the game. No one would’ve thought that the game would have been so one-sided. In the opening period Columbus scored three goals within four minutes of each other and that was just the beginning. After adding five more goals in the second and two more in the third it became a historic night.
The Blue Jackets set the franchise record for goals in a game and margin of victory. Columbus became the first team to have a 10-0 shutout since the 1996 Tampa Bay Lightning. This game proved that the Blue Jackets were a contender. because the Canadiens were the only team without a regulation loss. This game gave the Blue Jackets the confidence they needed to go on to have a historic season.
November 29th – January 3rd – The Streak:
The Columbus Blue Jackets played in 16 games during this period. Out of the 16 games they played they won every one of them, going on the second longest winning streak in NHL history. Going into and during the streak the Blue Jackets lead the league in goals against average, power play efficiency and goal-differential. The Blue Jackets were also the second in goals per game. The Blue Jackets were not playing bottom of the league teams. They were playing top tier team throughout the streak like Washington, Pittsburgh and Nashville. This is one of the main reasons Tortorella won the Jack Adams, not because of the 16 game win streak but how the team handled it. Tortorella prepared the Blue Jackets to take the streak one game at a time and move on once the game was over.
March 30th – April 8th – Push The Panic Button:
The Blue Jackets stats had started to decline late in the season like most teams do. However, this was not a so much of a decline more of a nosedive. The once almighty power play came to a screeching halt as the Blue Jackets scored just one time during this period with plenty of opportunities. The Blue Jackets offense also seemed to disappear as they scored more than two goals just once in this six game stretch at the end of the season. This stretch was what ultimately lead to the Blue Jackets early exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. These six games lead to a match up with eventual Stanley Cup Champions Pittsburgh Penguins and killed all momentum and confidence Columbus had going into the matchup.
The Jackets would fall in five games to the Penguins, ending the best season in franchise history on a bittersweet note.
Main Photo: COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 14: Head Coach John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets speaks to his players during a time out in the game against the Arizona Coyotes on November 14, 2015 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Arizona 5-2. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)