Fighting for their playoff lives, the Columbus Blue Jackets were dealt a big blow today as Nathan Horton was ruled out of Tuesday’s game against Colorado — with no guarantee he’d be back for Thursday’s tilt in Philly:
— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 31, 2014
Richards said Nathan Horton’s lower body issue is something he’d been playing through, but came to the forefront more recently. #CBJ
— Rob Mixer (@RobMixer) March 31, 2014
Horton has four goals and 17 points in 34 games for Columbus this season, often playing on the top line with Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner. The former Bruin and Panther started brightly in Columbus, scoring 12 points in his first 20 games, but has slowed down lately and is goalless in 24 straight (with just one point in his last six games.)
Desperate to get back into the postseason for the first time since 2009, the Jackets aren’t messing around when it comes to icing the best team available. In addition to parking Horton during an especially crucial time, the club has also made struggling veteran forward R.J. Umberger a healthy scratch on a few occasions.
Columbus heads into Monday’s action holding the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but just one point up on Washington and two on Toronto.