Blue Jackets close in on Capitals after franchise record-tying win

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The Columbus Blue Jackets got one step closer to franchise history on Friday.

Sergei Bobrovsky, in a bid for a fourth consecutive game without allowing a goal, came close but ultimately couldn’t set a new mark for the longest shutout streak in franchise history.

Evan Rodrigues ended Bobrovsky’s shutout streak at just over 182 minutes, opening the scoring for the Buffalo Sabres before the Blue Jackets came back and eventually won 4-3. While Bobrovsky’s shot at club history was spoiled early, the Blue Jackets saw another new record set.

Zach Werenski recorded an assist in the first period, giving him 40 points, which sets the new club record for most points in a single season by a rookie. The achievement is all the more impressive because he’s a defenseman, known to be a difficult position for young players in the NHL, and won’t turn 20 years old until July.

His play quickly matched the high expectations placed upon him by management, and he’s continued to be productive since then. If it wasn’t for the fact his freshman class includes stars like Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Mitch Marner, you could probably pencil Werenski in as a potential Calder Trophy favorite.

Tonight’s result gives Columbus its 43rd victory — which ties the franchise record set in 2013-14, per the Blue Jackets. They also tied the franchise record for most home victories in a single season. And there is still 16 games remaining on their schedule.

More importantly, the Blue Jackets’ recent three-game winning streak, and seven wins in their last 10 games, has kept them in the race for the Metropolitan Division. Granted, they’ve had some help with the Capitals having lost two in a row, and they visit the L.A. Kings and Anaheim Ducks in a back-to-back this weekend. Those are never easy. Columbus is now just three points back of Washington, and both teams are even at 66 games played. They also play each other twice down the stretch.

The Blue Jackets play the Sabres again tomorrow. They can make franchise history for most wins in a single season. And it’s only the middle of March.