The Columbus Blue Jackets are certainly making a revolution in the National Hockey League this year. Led by their own “General Washington,” John Tortorella has rallied his troops to an impressive 20-5-4 start in the early part of their season. The Jackets have gathered 44 points in the process. This early success can be largely contributed to their veteran leaders including Cam Atkinson and Brandon Saad. Sam Gagner and Nick Foligno have also played consistently well. This veteran group has scoredover 80 points combined, each over 20 respectively. They have been complimented nicely by the play of their young soldiers, Alexander Wennberg and Zach Werenski. Their last line of defense, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, has also been stellar.
Alexander Wennberg, a 22 year old Swede, has amassed 26 points in the first 29 games of the season for the Blue Jackets so far. With a total of twenty assists, it is clear that he likes to dish the puck and create opportunities for his line-mates, Scott Hartnell and Brandon Saad. Together, they have netted 16 goals combined. Then there is 19 year old Zach Werenski. Not even old enough to buy a beer in the states, Werenski has played all 29 games for Columbus and has buried 6 goals along with 15 assists. Consistent numbers from two youngsters have been a bright spot for the Jackets who sit 4th in the Eastern Conference. They also hold several games in hand over the teams in front of them.
While I’m giving credit where credit is due, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky certainly deserves some. He has secured 19 wins already with a goals against average of 1.94 and a save percentage of .932. Already surpassing his season win total from last year, Bobrovsky is on pace to shatter his own record of 32. It appears that he is back into Vezina form and shows no signs of letting up. He is an extremely athletic goalie and uses every inch of his body to make a save. A knack for making big saves, Bobrovsky has kept his team in every game that he has played this year. He has recorded three shutouts this season. Needless to say, it is rather difficult to beat a team whose goalie doesn’t let up any goals.
Don’t You Love The Holidays?
The Blue Jackets are a perfect 8-0 in the month of December and do not show any signs of letting up. They have scored three or more goals in every game this month. They have also let up no more than three in any contest during their run. However, they are no stranger to the close game. Four of their last eight games have been decided by two goals or less with two going into an overtime period or shootout. This just speaks to the solid goaltending, defense, and veteran presence put on display. When those aspects are present with a team, scoring will follow and so will the wins. John Tortorella has done a great job so far of putting out a lineup every night that he is confident in, rarely mixing it up. The Blue Jackets start a four game home-stand tonight against the Los Angeles Kings.