A week ago the Columbus Blue Jackets were on their way home with a 2-0 series lead over the Washington Capitals. After stealing the first two games on the road it looked like the Blue Jackets were going to make it to the second round for the first time in franchise history. Now the Blue Jackets are headed to Columbus down 3-2 for a pivotal Game 6. The Blue Jackets still have a chance to make it out of the first round.
The Blue Jackets have to pull off what would be the greatest feat in franchise history. They would have to win back to back elimination games and win Columbus its first playoff series. The Blue Jackets have proven they can compete with the Washington Capitals, forcing four of the five games to overtime. Columbus played what may have been their best game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in game five. There are still some things the Blue Jackets could need to fix before game six at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus Blue Jackets Comeback: Keys To Winning the Series
Fix The Power-Play
The Blue Jackets man advantage started off hot, converting on half their power-play chances. Since the first two games, the power-play has yet to convert. The Capitals have been sent to the penalty box 12 times between games three, four and five but Columbus has yet to capitalize on any of those opportunities. With the games being so close, the difference between a win and loss can often hinge on just one goal. The Blue Jackets can not continue to waste power play opportunities if they want to get back in the series.
Stay Away From The Penalty Box
The saying “Stay out of the Penalty Box” may sound like a broken record right now but that’s because it is important. In five games Columbus has been sent to the box 24 times and have paid for it dearly. Washington has scored eight power-play goals to this point, converting on 33 percent of their chances. The Capitals have the second highest percentage in the playoffs right now. This is easy to explain when the first power-play unit has players like Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie. The Jackets have to find a way to be more disciplined.
The Blue Jackets are relying heavily this postseason on their top players Cam Atkinson, Artemi Panarin and Seth Jones. Matt Calvert has also scored three goals this series but he has not been the main driver for Columbus. Jones, Atkinson, and Panarin have combined for 16 points this postseason. Those same three players have combined for a third of the team’s goals this postseason. The Blue Jackets have to find more secondary offence out of their depth players like Calvert. Nick Foligno, Brandon Dubinsky, Thomas Vanek and Mark Letestu have all been quiet this postseason. These were supposed to be the veteran player that would help carry this team. So far those four players have just one goal and three points between them.
Use Washington’s History
The Capitals are known for collapsing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, normally in the second round though. The Columbus Blue Jackets have to use this to their advantage. This is something that has stuck with Capitals fans and player through coaching and general manager changes. Columbus has to pounce on the fear of another post-season collapse which could give them another advantage to win two more games.
Columbus has lost the last three games to dig themselves into a 3-2 hole. The good news is the Blue Jackets still have a shot to win the series. They can get started in Game 6 back at the Nationwide Arena, on Monday Night at 7:30 pm EDT.