You would have to put the Columbus Blue Jackets on the list of pleasant surprises so far in this NHL season.
Goaltending is a big part of that. The Blue Jackets, as a team, have the sixth best save percentage at even strength. So, too, is a youthful but skilled defensive group that is still gaining experience. They entered Monday’s contest on a four-game winning streak, including Sunday’s victory over Washington that had Capitals coach Barry Trotz a little ticked off with Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno.
(By the way, John Tortorella responded in, well, a way you’d expect from Torts.)
Despite a total of 92 shot attempts courtesy a dominant stretch through the second half of the game, per hockeystats.ca, the Blue Jackets’ winning streak came to an end against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.
Still, the Blue Jackets were able to gather a single point after a late equalizer from Cam Atkinson with just seven seconds remaining in regulation. That helps them maintain their hold on a Wild Card spot, while keeping the Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins within their sights in the Metropolitan Division.
As noted yesterday on PHT, that’s quite a turnaround compared to last season.
The odds in October indicated John Tortorella would be the first NHL coach fired this season. Things have obviously changed in the last month.