In the NHL, one of the most difficult things to do is to go on an impressive win streak. With the physicality of the game added on to how frequently teams have to play, it is difficult for a team to be consistent for a long stretch. Despite that, the Columbus Blue Jackets have won 11 games in a row, after annihilating the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-1 last night, with their last defeat coming on November 26 – eclipsing the impressive streak of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Tortorella’s methods paying off
So what exactly is going right for the Blue Jackets right now? Well, the first aspect we can look at is the coaching situation with John Tortorella. Tortorella is a strict coach, we have seen this over the years from his post-game interviews and fiery personality behind the bench, and clearing this has sparked a flame underneath his team.
Heading into the season, Columbus was predicted to be one of the worst teams in the league, with many experts predicting that the future number one draft spot would be heading to Ohio, however, Tortorella has managed to coach his team to the top of the Metropolitan Division.
Players such as Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg have carried the offensive load for the Blue Jackets. Atkinson is seventh in the entire league in points with 34 while leading his team in goals with 15.
Brandon Saad continues to be a leader on the team, justifying the six-year, $36 million contract that he signed in the summer of 2015. Sam Gagner has revitalized his career as the 27-year-old centreman has 13 goals and 25 points in 30 games.
Young defensemen have been key for the Columbus Blue Jackets as well, as the team was originally criticized for trading away their superstar Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones in January of this year. But Jones has been fantastic and is really turning into the player that the Nashville Predators had hoped he would be when they selected him fourth overall in 2013.
Meanwhile, former Michigan Wolverine defenseman Zach Werenski has made an immediate impact in his rookie season. The young defender has racked up 21 points in 30 games while posting a +7 rating. Tortorella has put faith in his rookie defenseman to help run the Blue Jackets’ powerplay, as Werenski has 11 powerplay points already in his rookie campaign.
It has become clear that the Blue Jackets are a serious threat within the Eastern Conference. Columbus will look to make a push for the playoffs for the first time since the 2013/14 season. With that young team and Sergei Bobrovsky in net, they could be a dangerous team for a long time.
Do you think that the Columbus Blue Jackets will make the playoffs this season? Let us know in the comments section below.