If you looked at the NHL standings late Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning – depending on where you live – and had to blink your eyes once or twice in disbelief, you’re probably not alone.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will wake up Thursday morning all alone in eighth place in the Western Conference. The Detroit Red Wings, who have not missed the playoffs since 1990, are now ninth and very much in danger of not qualifying for the post-season.
If the playoffs were to start tomorrow, the Blue Jackets, winners of five straight, would face the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. The post-season doesn’t start tomorrow, but it’s not that far away, either, and the Blue Jackets have made an amazing run from the dreary days of mediocrity to a possible playoff berth.
Making it to the post-season is something the Blue Jackets franchise has done only once in its history.
The Blue Jackets, thanks to a 3-2 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks and a Red Wings loss in Calgary on Wednesday, moved into sole possession of that eighth spot.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for Columbus.
The Blue Jackets, you’ll recall, began the month of March sitting 15th in the West and last out of the 30 teams in the entire NHL. Heck, back then they were five points behind the Flames, who occupied the 14th seed in the conference.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch also reported on Twitter that Nikita Nikitin has a “lower-body injury” and will be reassessed on Thursday.