Jets get Blue Jackets at Right Time
It looked like the Columbus Blue Jackets were going to put an end to their losing streak Tuesday Night. They surged back from a 4-2 deficit to tie the game against the Buffalo Sabers. Once again the team was let down by spotty defensive play and ultimately fell 5-4. The Jets, on the other hand, managed to end a two-game slide of their own with a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins.
As Winnipeg’s first line goes, so do the Jets. Tuesday night’s victory was no different. The combination of Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor put up two goals and three assists on the night. Together they’ve registered an astounding 163 points on the season. The trio will be a tremendous challenge for the slumping Blue Jackets. After failing to pick up a single point three games in a row, the Blue Jackets now have a slim one-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They’ll need to bounce back on Thursday if they hope to maintain their playoff positioning in the Metropolitan Division
This, That, and a Dart Throw
The Blue Jackets are 28-18-3 on the season. All-Star forward Cam Atkinson is on pace to shatter his career high of 35 goals. He set that in 2016-17 season. Atkinson scored for the fourth time in six games to boost his season total to 28. Linemates Pierre-Luc Dubois and Artemi Panarin matched him with two points apiece. Despite the three-game slide, Columbus is receiving stellar work from its penalty-killing units. They have smashed 25 straight short-handed situations. The killer play has let them not allow a power-play goal in 11 games.
The Jets are 32-16-2 on the season. Patrik Laine is tied for the team lead with 25 goals despite being mired in a slump. The slump has seen him produce one tally and two assists over the past dozen games. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Laine amassed 80 goals over his first two seasons and erupted for 18 tallies in the month of November before hitting a wall, managing only four goals over the past 26 games and bottoming out in Tuesday's win in Boston. Coach Paul Maurice had Laine on the bench for much of the second period and the third-year forward wound up playing a career-low 10:55 while failing to register a shot on goal.
PREDICTION: Jets 4, Blue Jackets 3
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