It’s become clear quite quickly that the Columbus Blue Jackets are not in the Second Round by fluke. While their matchup against the Boston Bruins has been tight so far, with all games decided by one goal, Columbus comes out with a 2-1 series lead after Game 3. The Second Round was kicked off with Game 1: the first home playoff game past the first round in franchise history. It did not disappoint for Columbus fans. The team came away with a win by the skin of their teeth, with star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky making 34 saves. Overall, this series has been dead even but Columbus has the edge through the first three games.
So how has Columbus been able to keep their elite play up through the second round?
Sergei Bobrovsky and Columbus Blue Jackets Playoff Dominance Continues
Columbus Stars Producing
The Blue Jackets trade deadline acquisitions took a while to sink in but they managed to bolster an already dangerous lineup. The Blue Jackets offense has been showing off in spades, with four players scoring at least a point-per-game (those being Matt Duchene, Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones, and Cam Atkinson). Only two regulars throughout the playoffs have not logged a point, those being Dean Kukan and, shockingly, Ryan Dzingel. This is in contrast to the Boston Bruins stars, with no Bruin averaging a point-per-game.
Your stars need to show up for your team in the playoffs and they have for Columbus. The team’s potent offense is out-performing the Bruins once invincible combination of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak.
Bobrovsky Edging Rask, Charging Team
While Boston’s Tuukka Rask has been admirable in these playoffs, and in this series with a .927 save percentage overall, Bobrovsky has been even better for Columbus. Bobrovsky has a .930 save percentage through the playoffs. He had a stellar performance in Game 3 in particular, stopping 36 out of 37 shots. Rask was good as well, but not good enough, stopping 32 of 34 shots.
It’s obvious that Bobrovsky is a key figure for the Blue Jackets. He’s very popular in the locker room and is a very energetic goalie. When he is on his game, his energy is a crucial part of the Blue Jackets game. It carries through the locker room and gives every player that tad bit more of inspiration. This is an aspect that often gets overlooked in favor of advanced analytics. It’s an amazingly important of Bobrovsky’s game, though, and is one of the many reasons why the Blue Jackets have been so dominant this post-season.
Blue Jackets Perfect at Nationwide
The Jackets now stand at 3-0 at home this season, with voracious support from their fanbase, dubbed the “5th Line.” The team certainly has a high level of confidence in their fans, as shown by Brandon Dubinsky‘s not-so-subtle dig at Boston’s fans.
With all the fun being had at home, from beers being spilled on coach John Tortorella to their new towel campaign, the energy is absolutely electric in Nationwide Arena. It’s a sort of symbiotic relationship, as the chemistry of the team has joined with the relentlessness of the fans to create an electric and deadly combination. Home-ice advantage has certainly become just that for Columbus.
Momentum Is Key
Going into the series, goaltending and team chemistry were both going to be factors. So far, Columbus has come away with the win in both of those categories and taken the series lead with it. While Boston certainly has the skill, knowledge, and experience to get themselves back in this series, Columbus is making it a tall task.
Game 4 has become a must-win for the Bruins, in a building that Blue Jackets fans have made almost impenetrable. Columbus can take a 3-1 stranglehold and it’s up to the Bruins offense to get going and find an answer for Bobrovsky’s goaltending. It’s a must-watch game in an extremely entertaining series. Both these teams and their fans are certainly getting their money’s worth through three games, as the Columbus Blue Jackets playoff hopes keep on rolling.