This game may have just a little bit less excitement than the last time these two teams met, but it's no less important. Back in December, the Jackets and the Wild were riding the two longest win streaks in the league when their paths collided in Minnesota on New Year's Eve. The Jackets earned a resounding 4-2 win, but since then, the Wild have climbed ahead of the Jackets in the standings. This time, the Wild are the visiting team and the Jackets will look to sweep the season series.
Of the seven Metro Division games the Blue Jackets have in March, only two will happen at home, and this is one of them. The Devils are struggling this season, but that last time they came to Nationwide they beat the Jackets 5-1, so this is not a team to take lightly.
Hard to believe, but it took until March and game 66 for the Blue Jackets to see the Sabres this season. Expect the two teams will make up for lost time quickly. This matchup marks the first of a back-to-back home and home series between the two teams, the only time that will happen for the Blue Jackets this season.
The Panthers are a team that has had the Blue Jackets' number this season. Florida has beaten the Blue Jackets in both of their earlier meetings this year. The first took a shootout, but the second ended at the final horn of regulation. Both of those wins came by a margin of just one goal, and now the Panthers are coming to Columbus. This will be a good opportunity for the Jackets to prevent the season sweep by the Panthers.
The Jackets and the Maple Leafs have both lived a tale of redemption this season, and Toronto has put themselves squarely in the fight for a post-season spot with the play of their talented youth. Sound familiar? Speaking of that youth, this game will feature a collection of the top contenders for the Calder Trophy that goes to the best NHL rookie, including the Jackets' own Zach Werenski.
A Flyers-Jackets game always promises to be a high-energy matchup. With former players from both teams now on the other side, there's motivation to best your previous team, while playing against guys who you know, sometimes all too well. This will be just the second of four times the two teams see each other this season, and it marks another chance to seize those all-important points against a Metro opponent.
The Jackets play all three of their games against the Sabres in the month of March. By the time this game rolls around, the winner of the season series could be at stake, and the Jackets will be in the final few home games of the regular season. Expect an invested crowd and even the beginnings of post-season excitement?