The Columbus Blue Jackets — currently sitting 10th in the Western Conference, with 41 points — have a tall task ahead in trying to make the playoffs.
They’ll likely need to win six of their remaining eight games, six of which are on the road, where the Jackets are a lowly 5-11-2 this season.
Of course, the newest Jacket is looking at things more optimistically.
“We have eight games left,” Marian Gaborik told the Canadian Press. “We’re going to keep fighting ’till the end.
“We want to leave everything out there every game. Hopefully we can make it interesting to the end and fight for the playoffs.”
The Blue Jackets, who whipped the Sharks 4-0 last night, have a few days to sit and ponder their future.
They won’t play again until hosting St. Louis at Nationwide on Friday, and will then set on out the make-or-break portion of their season — a six-game road swing through Minnesota, Colorado, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Dallas.
All told, Columbus will play six road dates in 12 nights, including a tough Ducks-Kings back-to-back on Apr. 17/18.
According to Sports Club Stats, the Jackets currently hold a slim 7.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. It’s the reality after getting off to an NHL-worst 5-12-2 start, only to gain remarkable ground with a home stretch in March where they played nine of 10 in Columbus (going 8-0-2).
Now, Columbus needs to win tough games at the toughest time of the year.
But even if it doesn’t work out, director of hockey ops John Davidson says the experience has been invaluable.
“If we had kept going and gotten into a situation where there was no pressure on our team for the last six weeks of the season, that’s lost time,” he said. “Wherever this goes we’re going to — for sure — have gotten something out of it, and that’s just the fact that it’s a very good culture.
“It’s a very good locker room and it’s a team that’s developed because of playing pressure games down the stretch.”