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CBJ Countdown Update: 3 for the road

Last night was a very CBJ type of game.  Nothing can ever be easy, but it makes you appreciate it when it’s over.  The Jackets started out fast taking a 1-0 lead over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes, but gave up two unanswered goals before the first period was over.  The second period was highlighted by Mark Letestu’s goal five minutes in bringing the Jackets even after 40 minutes of play.  The third period brought the excitement all Jackets fans were looking for.  The action was hard hitting and back and forth, and the referees swallowed their whistles on numerous hard hits.  When Blake Comeau gave the Jackets a 3-2 lead around the 14 minute mark it sounded like the roof was going to tear off of Nationwide Arena.  The crowd stayed loud and proud cheering on the CBJ for the last time at home in the regular season.   Being a Blue Jackets fan is never uneventful though, so when a faceoff in our zone took place in the final minute everyone knew the possibility of a letdown.  The air could have all come out of the Arena when Phoenix put a puck in the back of the net with 15 seconds to go but a near capacity crowd wouldn’t let that happen.  The cheers continued and the team rallied, with Ryan Johansen sending the frenzied crowd home satisfied with a beautiful wrist shot at 3:33 in overtime.  It was a great night for Columbus and for the team.  Mission accomplished, with 2 points for the Blue Jackets and another ROW (regulation & overtime win) added for the purpose of tiebreakers.

The Playoff race didn’t change much in terms of positional rankings.  All teams in action last night that are contending with the Blue Jackets won as well.  The Rangers stay in 2nd place in the Metro Division and the Flyers stay in 3rd.  Both teams have clinched at least a wildcard spot in the playoffs.  The Jackets remain 4 points behind the Rangers and 2 points behind the Flyers, with no tiebreaker advantage over the two.    The Red Wings stay 1 point ahead of the Blue Jackets in the race for wildcard spot #1, with the CBJ holding the tiebreaker.  Behind the Jackets are the Washington Capitals 4 points back and the New Jersey Devils 5 points back with only three games to play.  Columbus currently holds the tiebreaker over both of these teams.  The Toronto Maple Leafs are also 5 points back but only have two games remaining, and are eliminated from the playoff race.

Our Columbus Blue Jackets did what they were supposed to do last night and took care of business.  We needed a big win at home and then all you can do is let the chips fall where they may.  The same is true tonight with a big game (and 1-0 lead) in Dallas against the Stars, with the rival Red Wings in action on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins.   All other teams in contention with the CBJ have the night off.  Tomorrow morning the wildcard race could have a completely different look.  All I can say is Go Jackets!

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