As we approach the start of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, Too Many Men On The Site will be taking a look at the teams that have qualified. Included will be stats, record, and why they will and will not win the Stanley Cup. Next up are the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Columbus Blue Jackets: 2nd Wild Card in the East (91 points)
- Ryan Johansen (32 G, 28 A, 60 points)
- James Wisniewski (7 G, 43 A, 50 points)
- Brandon Dubinsky (16G, 33A, 49 points)
Why The Blue Jackets Will Win The Stanley Cup:
This is the second trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Columbus Blue Jackets, however do not let their inexperience fool you. This is a team that fell just a game short of qualifying last season, so they are out to right some unfinished business.
Going into tonight’s games, the Blue Jackets are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers with 91 points. If Columbus can finish ahead of the Flyers and capture the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, they meet up with the New York Rangers in the first round. Columbus split their four game series with the Rangers, but every game has been a close and hard fought battle. The Blue Jackets have shown they can run with the Rangers and stand a good chance in a first round match up.
The longer the Blue Jackets can avoid playing the Penguins, the greater their chances increase of contending for the Stanley Cup. With a first round match up with the New York Rangers, that leaves the Flyers to take care of the Penguins. Philadelphia has been Marc-Andre Fleury‘s kryptonite in the past. The Jackets went 3-1 against the Flyers during the regular season, and I don’t like Steve Mason‘s chances in a riled up Nationwide Arena and a high pressure playoff situation.
With the exception of Henrik Lundqvist and Tuuka Rask, the Columbus Blue Jackets may have the best goaltender minding the crease in the Eastern Conference with Sergei Bobrovsky. Marc-Andre Fleury has been a liability in the post-season for Pittsburgh, we already discussed Steve Mason above, and Ben Bishop remains sidelined with an upper-body injury for the Lightning.
Why The Blue Jackets Will Not Win The Stanley Cup:
While the idea of the Blue Jackets NOT winning the Stanley Cup is absurd to me, I must acknowledge that this is still a very young team getting its first taste of the post-season in six years. The Blue Jackets have a bright future ahead of them, but they have to gain some post-season experience before they are considered a Stanley Cup contender. It is very rare and near impossible for a team to make their first playoff appearance in several years and suddenly go on a Cup run.
If the playoffs started today, the Blue Jackets would have to face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who easily dispatched the Jackets in all five games during the regular season. While we discussed Marc-Andre Fleury’s shortcomings in the playoffs, I have a hard time having confidence in the Jackets abilities with that first round match up.
Previous Posts In This Series: Pittsburgh Penguins - St. Louis Blues - Colorado Avalanche - Detroit Red Wings - San Jose Sharks - Minnesota Wild - Chicago Blackhawks - Tampa Bay Lightning - Philadelphia Flyers