With time winding down on the 2013/14 NHL regular season, it’s time to look at the potential Playoff opponents for our Boston Bruins. The standings are very tight, so there are no clear teams to definitively say will be facing the B’s in the first round. With that, I will pull a few teams out of the pile and dissect how they match up against our Bruins. For this article the team of interest will be the Columbus Blue Jackets.
At this time Columbus sits in eighth place (85 Pts) and would face the Bruins. They only have a one point lead over Toronto, with games yet to be played so stay tuned!
Just like the Bruins, the Blue Jacket’s strengths come from the middle. Their Center iceman are their top point getters and do control the offense as a whole. Center Ryan Johansen is their top point getter with 56 Points. He is also their top goal scorer with 31. Behind him and 3rd on the team in scoring is Brandon Dubinsky with 47 Points, Artem Anisimov (6th) with 36 Points, Mark Letestu (9th) with 29 Points and Boone Jenner (11th) with 23 Points.
Again like the Bruins they are strong at the Face-off circle, with the B’s having the slight edge as a team; 51.9% to 51.5%.
The Blue Jackets best scoring wingers are Nick Foligno (18 Goals), Cam Atkinson (20 Goals) and RJ Umberger (18 Goals). Their best scoring Defenseman is James Wisniewski who is 2nd on the team in scoring with 7 Goals and 40 Assists.
Offensively and while “even strength” they are a very similar team to our Bruins. Where the biggest differences lie is in their defensive systems, the Bruins with a far better system under Claude Julien.
Another big difference between the two is in their Special teams play. Boston possesses the 3rd best Power Play (20.9%) in the NHL; Columbus has the 16th best at 17.9%.
Same with the Penalty Killing, Boston is 8th with a 84.2% success rate, Columbus comes in at 15th place with a 81.9 success rate.
The player the Bruins must keep an eye on at all times and is Columbus’s biggest “sniper” is Center Ryan Johansen but you can’t fall asleep defensively against this good stable of Blue Jacket Forwards.
If the Bruins had to face Columbus, I like their chances a lot but I’d still rather face Toronto. Go B’s!