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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Blue Jackets look to have breakout season

On the eve of the season opener for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the goal is simple: win. Win enough games to earn a playoff spot. Win enough games to earn one of the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference, assuring them home ice advantage at in the first round of the playoffs at least.

With a potential line that includes Ryan Johansen, Nick Foligno David Clarkson, the newly acquired Brandon Saad, and (when he returns from injury) defender Ryan Murray, that doesn't sound too hard (at least on paper). After all, last season the CBJ were able to amass 42 wins despite the fact they were one of the most injured squads in the NHL.

So it should be easy for the Jackets to take the next step and have the kind of breakout season fans are expecting, right? Not exactly. For whatever reason, it seems that the Blue Jackets (playoffs or not) are notorious for getting off to slow starts. And for a team that is looking to secure one of the top four seeds in the East, you just can't do that. Fans and experts will point to injuries (time missed by goalie Bob- Sergei Bobrovsky was certainly huge) and unfufilled expectations (see former Blue Jacket alums Marian Gaborik and Jeff Carter, among others) as reasons the CBJ just can't seem to break through.

But whatever the reason, the fact remains that Columbus can ill afford to have a slow start again. Especially considering the fact that they not only missed the playoffs by nine points last season, but they also only finished five points better than Philadelphia. It's not going to be easy as the Jackets face the New York Rangers(a team that they lost the season series to in '14-15) in the first to games.

This year will be different. At least Todd Richards and the Blue Jacket faithful hope so.

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