The Columbus Blue Jackets posted a convincing 5-3 victory against the 2012 Stanley Cup-winning Los Angeles Kings at Nationwide Arena, while setting a franchise record for seven consecutive victories during their 13-year history.
Like their previous six consecutive victories, the Blue Jackets have been winning games with the same formula: stellar goaltending with the return to form of defending Vezina Trophy recipient Sergei Bobrovsky; the emergence of center Ryan Johansen, the 4th overall pick in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft; the arrival from offseason shoulder surgery by signature Unrestricted Free Agency (UFA) signee Nathan Horton; stingy and steady blue line play; and a slew of timely and secondary goal scoring by the likes of Cam Atkinson, Artem Anisimov, James Wisniewski, R.J. Umberger, Brandon Dubinsky and Mark Letestu.
Bobrovsky has returned to the form of last season, posting an 8-0-0 record, a goals against average (GAA) of 1.68 and a save percentage (Sv%) of .941 after missing six weeks because of a groin injury.
Johansen, after a brief four-game lull, has returned to his torrid pace, posting five points, including three goals, in his last five games. He has also registered 24 points in his last 26 games, providing the Blue Jackets with a consistent scoring threat and a center who teams are now scheming to defend against. Johansen is also on pace to post the most points since the departure of former Blue Jackets franchise player Rick Nash.
READ MORE: The Ascent of Ryan Johansen
Horton, while still working into “game shape” after offseason shoulder surgery, has provided consistent goal scoring, leadership and a gritty, north-south style of play that aligns with the Blue Jackets young personnel’s style of play. Horton has posted three goals and three assists in his first nine games, but his contribution has solidified the forward lines to allow head coach Todd Richards to roll three, sometimes four scoring lines—a luxury only afforded during their lone playoff appearance in 2009.
Their defensive corps has solidified into a consistent group, particularly with the emergence of David Savard and rookie Ryan Murray, the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Savard has finally displayed the talent that the organization expected from him for the past few seasons, posting a plus-eight rating in his first full NHL season. Murray has also proven to be a steady, minute-crunching defenseman who is poised far beyond his years, providing solid defensive play and flashes of offensive prowess.
Players such as Atkinson, Umberger, Letestu, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Wisniewski have provided solid role play and have embraced both timely scoring and an ability to step up at the opportune time to contribute to the winning streak.
There remain five home games on this current home stand, and if the Blue Jackets can continue their winning ways, they couldextend this franchise-record winning streak and continue to climb into playoff position in the Eastern Conference standings.