After beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Thursday, the Columbus Blue Jackets are ranked third in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the Washington Capitals. Seriously.
Here’s the thing: saying they’re in third doesn’t even really do their promising position justice. Look at where they stand among the upper echeleon of a pretty stout division (full standings here):
Rangers: 16-8-1 for 33 points in 25 games
Penguins: 14-7-3 for 31 points in 24 games
Blue Jackets: 13-5-4 for 30 points in 22 games
Capitals: 13-7-2 for 28 points in 22 games
Apologies to the Coyotes, but with their next two games against Arizona, the Blue Jackets stand a great chance to match or exceed the Rangers’ 33 points.
There’s only so much to gain from pouring over the schedule, and diving deep into the details can distract you from the truly mind-blowing realization that the Blue Jackets might just be for real.
It’s not just the record or the hot run; Columbus’ +20 goal differential is second to the Rangers’ +28 mark among the NHL’s best. While the Blue Jackets are ranked sixth in PDO – a stat that indicates a team is getting lucky – the Rangers are far and above everyone else.
So, again, a team that was a very popular – and let’s be honest, reasonable – choice to finish dead last in the NHL is in a solid position to get home ice for a round in the playoffs.
Allow that to sink in once more: the Blue Jackets might just be for real.