by PuckStopsHere on 01/24/14 at 10:53 PM ET
It is often hard to assign much meaning to a streak. Any given team is capable of playing a few games very well or very poorly and it rarely has any long term meaning. Nevertheless the Columbus Blue Jackets are the hottest team in the NHL. They are on an eight game winning streak and have moved themselves into a playoff spot.
Can we find any meaningful reasons for why Columbus is playing so well that hold into the longer term? The simplest reason is Sergei Bobrovsky is back from injury and is playing well. He is a big step up from Curtin McElhinney who was manning the nets in his absence. Nathan Horton is also back from injury, although his return dates don't fit as well with the beginning of the streak. Nevertheless he is a key piece of the Blue Jackets offence when he is healthy.
I think the biggest reason is that the Blue Jackets are a young team. Young teams can be very erratic. They can exceed or fail to live up to expectations for periods of time. Often young teams are more emotional and are less likely to keep an even keel during good or bad times.
Ryan Johansen is the team's top scorer. He is a former first round draft pick who is only 21. Before this season began he had only scored 14 NHL goals. He is a typical leader for a young team. Also in the core are Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, Nikita Nikitin and Ryan Murray. This is a young core full of potential and short on proven NHLers.
How good are the Columbus Blue Jackets? They are not the best team in the NHL - even though they have been lately. They may be a playoff team, but I think it is more likely that this is their high water point and they will sink back out of the playoffs after this streak ends.
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