They have dominated Detroit, won with ease in Nashville and now swept a season series from the San Jose Sharks.
With two games left in the regular season and a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning to taste almost real, it’s only right to ask the question that all the NHL is wondering:
Who are these guys?
The Blue Jackets, after losing a two-goal lead in the third period, defeated the Sharks 4-3 last night before 17,562 in the HP Pavilion when Ryan Johansen pounced on a turnover and scored with 1:37 remaining in regulation.
“We feel like we’re underdogs every night, proving people wrong,” said forward R.J. Umberger, who forced the turnover by San Jose’s Joe Pavelski that led to Johansen’s winner. “We’re a very confident team. Everyone in here believes. We feel like it’s our destiny to make the playoffs.”
Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu had two goals and an assist — the first three-point game of his 235-game NHL career — and Vinny Prospal had a goal and an assist.
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves for his 19th win.
“This was a big game,” coach Todd Richards said. “It was a big game for them and a huge game for us.”
The win pushed the Blue Jackets more firmly into eighth place in the Western Conference, three points ahead of ninth-place Detroit and 10th-place Dallas, which lost in overtime to Los Angeles.
The Jackets have the same number of points (51) as seventh-place Minnesota, but the Wild — it lost to Calgary — owns the tiebreaker.
The Blue Jackets flew home after the game and will enjoy a well-earned off day today. They will spend the next two days scoreboard watching and then head to Dallas for what could be a pivotal game on Thursday against the Stars.
“The race has been going on for us for some time now,” Richards said. “We’re coming into the final turn now. You’re in the final 200 yards of this race.”
Before last night, the Blue Jackets had only one regulation win ever in San Jose, and just two wins period, and the Sharks had only one regulation loss all season in the Shark Tank, giving them the best home record in the NHL.
This six-game trip — it was expected to be the Jackets’ demise — has started with a 4-1-0 record.The Blue Jackets pushed the lead to 3-1 at 12:42 of the second period on a long-awaited power-play goal.