Written by: Matthew Ruskan (@MRuskun)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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Just when you thought the Jackets might string together a few wins where they had not been able to before, they lost a game. Just when you thought they were going to string together losses like they had earlier, they won a game. In short, the Jackets look like many of the rides at King’s Island: Up and down with more twists and turns than I, or my stomach, would care to go through.
A tough 4-3 loss to the hot Los Angeles Kings halted the bid for the winning streak on Monday, followed by a great win 4-3 over the Flyers on Friday. On Saturday, the Jackets ended up like so many others on Valentine’s Day, brokenhearted as the New York Islanders did what they do, score a lot, beating Columbus 6-3.
This coming week does not get any easier for the Jackets, as the five game road trip that started in Long Island continues. They will first head to the City of Brotherly Love where the Flyers will be looking for revenge on Monday, then to the Steel City where the Penguins will be waiting on Thursday. The road trip then concludes with the meanest back-to-back I have seen in awhile, Saturday at Montreal to play the Canadiens and Sunday in New York to play the Rangers.
Now, the Flyers are going to be very angry when the Jackets come to town, which means that will not be an easy game unless the Jackets can get Philly into penalty trouble (which can be done pretty simply, just hit, taunt and repeat). The next three games, however, are all against teams playing at the top of their game.
Pittsburgh, as much as I hate to admit it, is a contender for the Cup, even with "The Flower" (aka Fluery) in net. Montreal has this guy named Carey Price between the pipes, and rumor has it he is not half bad (you know, gold medal for Canada and all). Add in P.K. Subban with Max Pacioretty scoring goals and that is quite the hockey team. In New York, the Broadway Blueshirts, even without Henrik Lundqvist, are playing fantastic hockey. Add in the second half of a back-to-back and this game becomes a huge challenge, but as I have said before, on any given night anyone can win.
In other Jacket’s news, James Wisniewski returned to the lineup against the Flyers. Already having Ryan Murray on the shelf, the Jackets need the presence of this veteran blueliner to help steady the team. On Monday, against the Kings, Scott Hartnell played his 1,000th NHL game. That is 1,000 games of hard hitting, fist throwing and penalty minute accumulation, with some pretty nice point numbers mixed in there. Congratulations from all of us here at OSR, Scott!!