The Jackets racked up their fourth win in a row tonight. And this one was on the road, and without Steve Mason. Antoine Vermette is looking like a great addition to the team, and Raffi Torres is starting to round into form as a Jacket. By all appearances, this is a team that is peaking at the right time. I still won’t think the playoffs are a sure thing until the April 11 game is over and I check the standings and see them in eighth or higher. But they are looking like they are for real!
The win tonight catapults the Jackets over Vancouver and into fifth place in the conference. But the Canucks are leading their game tonight, so that will probably only last for about another hour or so. The really important thing is that they are starting to get some separation from the teams in ninth place on down. Colorado and Phoenix look to be out of it altogether, and Los Angeles is close to that point. Any of Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis or Anaheim could still make a run, though, and Dallas and Edmonton are still hanging in there along with Columbus and Vancouver among those teams in the 70-80 point range right now. So it’s not a done deal. However, for the first time tonight, I found myself looking at the standings and wondering if the Jackets could catch Chicago by the end of the season. Hang on to your hats, Jackets fans, the next few weeks are going to be intense!
I should also note that St. Lawrence knocked off Quinnipiac tonight in their ECAC second round playoff game. If they win tomorrow, they will advance to the semifinals in Albany. So this is shaping up to be a fun few weeks to be a fan of the Skating Saints and the Blue Jackets, i.e., pretty much to be me.