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The Columbus Blue Jackets entered this season with the goal of making the playoffs for just the second time in their franchise’s history. When that happened, the question was if they would come away with their first playoff win. They did.
There were times when it looked like they would do more than that. The Blue Jackets managed two come-from-behind victories in the series to make the Penguins sweat. They still have never won a playoff series. That just gives them a new, higher goal for 2014-15.
- Going into this season, the Blue Jackets’ offense was a concern. Would Nathan Horton be healthy for enough of the season to make a difference? Could Marian Gaborik find his game in Columbus? The answer to both of those questions was largely no, but the Blue Jackets still averaged 2.76 goals per game, up from 2.40 in 2013. Ryan Johansen, 21, was a big reason for that as he broke out with with 33 goals and 63 points in 82 games.
- It also helped that Columbus finally got a relatively healthy season out of defenseman James Wisniewski, who tied for eighth among NHL blueliners with 51 points in 75 contests.
- Sergei Bobrovsky struggled early in the campaign after winning the Vezina Trophy in 2013, but bounce back to post a strong 2.38 GAA and .923 save percentage in 58 starts. Columbus seems to have found a netminder that can lead them for years to come.
- For the most part, Brandon Dubinsky really shined in playoffs, both offensively and defensively. He managed to hold his own against Sidney Crosby at times and ended up with six points in six games.
- The fact that neither team could hold a lead was a big storyline in the first round series, but it was a problem for Columbus throughout the season. The Blue Jackets went 22-5-3 when leading after one period, which might sound great, but actually put them 20th in the league. They had the 18th best winning percentage when leading after 40 minutes.
- At the time of elimination, the Blue Jackets led the lead with three shorthanded goals in the playoffs. They scored nine in the regular season.