This is a new experience for Jackets fans, and can be unnerving for those who have not experienced the daily ups, downs and twists. In listening to and reading fan comments, you would think we were in 12th. So, armed with some facts, let me attempt to return some degree of rationality to the debate.
First, I have updated the site to provide a permanent link to the Playoff Tracker spreadsheet to the right at the top. So those of you needing your latest information fix can get it there. Secondly, here are the current projections, based upon every team playing as they have up to the present time:
1. San Jose 120 points
2. Detroit 116 points
3. Calgary 99 points
4. Chicago 101 points
5. Vancouver 99 points
6. Columbus 93 points
7. Nashville 91 points
8. St. Louis 90 points
9. Anaheim 88 points
10. Edmonton 87 points
11. Minnesota 86 points
12. Dallas 82 points
13. Los Angeles 80 points
14. Phoenix 77 points
15. Colorado 69 points.
Thus, the bar sits at 90 points right now, elevated by the St. Louis 5 game winning streak and Nashville's 6 game point streak. For reasons explained below, I expect the #8 slot point total to go back to 89 or 88 before the season ends.
Consider the following:
- The Jackets are 3-1-2 for the first 6 games of the Dirty Dozen, for 8 out of a possible 12 points. Nashville has earned points in the last 6 games, for a total of 9 points. So, they have gained exactly 1 point on us over 6 games. That's acceptable -- I'll let them pick up 1 more point over the final six games -- no problem!
- St. Louis plays 5 of their last 6 on the road, Nashville plays 4 of 6 on the road, as does Anaheim.
- Edmonton plays San Jose, Vancouver, Anaheim, Calgary twice
- Nashville, besides contending with us, has Chicago twice, Detroit and Minnesota.
- Anaheim has Edmonton, Vancouver and San Jose (twice)
- We have played extremely well against Chicago, have a 2 - 2 record against Nashville (including a loss with Norrena in goal), and have played Minnesota tough. We have 3 home games left and 3 road games. Split 'em and we keep 6th easily.
We have the easiest job of any of those fighting for playoff spots, because we are above the bar and they have to catch us. Lots of games between each other, so lots of leapfrogging will go on, which slows the pace of the pursuers.
This team has played with intensity and character all year long, and is not going to stop now. Darth Vader is dead. Nashville is coming to OUR house, and is not leaving without a whipping. The playoffs will take care of themselves within the next week.
Think soft, calming thoughts. All will be well . . . Go Jackets!!