Written by: Matthew Ruskan (@MRuskun)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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Holy cow. That is all I could keep thinking as I watched the score updates come in. Sure, the Jackets were playing some good hockey, but did I really think they could beat three of the best teams in the NHL in succession? No matter what I thought, the Jackets just proved they could.
By defeating the Anaheim Ducks 5-3, the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 and the St. Louis Blues 4-2, the Jackets have extended their winning streak to six games and are 9-1 in the last ten. Which, in hockey terms, is playing good. Really, really good.
Not only that, but only three of those games were at Nationwide Arena, including the one loss. So the Jackets are earning the title of “road warriors”.
Leading the charge this week was Cam “Hatkinson”. Atkinson put in a hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks and the speedy winger, after signing a large contract early this year, has continued to prove he is worth the money.
Coming up this week, the Jackets don’t have much of a break in terms of difficulty. Tuesday they host the New Jersey Devils, whose coaching situation can only be described by those four letter words that cannot be published. They have an offensive head coach, a defensive head coach, and to top it all off, their GM is behind the bench as well to “oversee” things. It isn’t working. Hopefully the Jackets can take advantage of that.
Then the Jackets host the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Islanders are slumping, but are still a very good hockey team. This will be a tough one, as well as the road trip to Pittsburgh on Saturday, where, just like the Islanders, the Penguins are slumping, but have enough talent to make things very difficult for the Jackets.
In other news, Rene Bourque’s season is officially over after suffering a stress fracture against the Calgary Flames. Bourque has been invaluable since entering the lineup, playing on the top line with Johansen and Atkinson, bringing that line size and experience, and he had four goals in eight games to prove his career wasn’t over. This will be tough for the 33 year-old to recover from, but I am hoping he can come back next season and fulfill the same role.