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A deep dive into the Blue Jackets' 2019-20 schedule

Road trips, Nationwide nights and Metro meetings: Everything you need to know as a CBJ fan

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

In some ways, it's like hockey Christmas. 

The full release of the upcoming season schedule allows Blue Jackets fans -- as well as the team itself -- to know what their wintertime travels are going to look like. 

Looking to see your Jackets on a Saturday night in Nationwide Arena? Now you know. Want to see a particular team or opposing star in Columbus? Now you know. And if you're looking to book a road trip, get ready.  

As usual, Columbus will play four games apiece against its Metropolitan Division rivals -- two at home and two on the road. The Jackets will play three games against each of the eight foes from the Atlantic Division -- Tampa Bay, Florida, Ottawa and Detroit are the four teams to visit twice - and then have a home-and-home with each of the 15 teams from the Western Conference. 

Here's a look at some of the notable games Blue Jackets fans might be interested in during the 2019-20 season, which begins Oct. 4 at home vs. Toronto and ends April 3 at Carolina. 

Notable Nights at Nationwide 

The Blue Jackets already knew they'd start with Toronto at home in the Maple Leafs' lone visit to Columbus on the season, as that game was announced last week. It will be a great way to start the campaign, with a full Nationwide Arena ready to cheer the Jackets on against one of the NHL's marquee franchises.  

Here are three other games that should bring fans flocking to Nationwide Arena. 

  • Nov. 29, Pittsburgh: Thanksgiving Thursday is for family, football and food. The early part of the following day will be for shopping -- Black Friday. Then by evening, it'll be all about hockey in the capital city as the rival Penguins visit for the first time all year. With the Ohio State-Michigan game the next day, it'll be a huge sports weekend in the capital city. 
  • Dec. 31, Florida: The Blue Jackets have made it a habit of hosting a game on New Year's Eve, allowing the city to start the party at Nationwide Arena, and it'll be no different this year when Columbus welcomes the Panthers to town. It'll be a holiday atmosphere for this one. 
  • Feb. 14, New York Rangers: Another holiday, Valentine's Day, will bring a new-look New York team to town for a Friday night showdown. These two teams always seem to play rocking affairs in Nationwide Arena, and there shouldn't be any love lost between the Metropolitan Division foes. 
Home Sweet Home 

Columbus' longest homestand of the year will take place from Feb. 4-10 as the Blue Jackets host four games in seven days starting with the Panthers coming to town for their second visit of the year. It'll then be a busy weekend in Nationwide with Detroit coming to town Friday, Feb. 7 and Colorado visiting a night later (it's the only Friday-Saturday back-to-back in Columbus this season). The homestand ends Feb. 10 with Tampa Bay visiting Columbus. 

There are three times the Jackets will play thrice in a row in Columbus this year. Stanley Cup champion St. Louis (Friday, Nov. 15), Montreal (Nov. 19) and Detroit (Nov. 21) all visit in a row late in November, then after a Nov. 23 game at Winnipeg, Columbus will return for three more home games vs. Ottawa (Nov. 25), Philadelphia (Nov. 27) and Pittsburgh (Nov. 29). That means the Blue Jackets will play six of seven games in Columbus in late November. 

It'll actually be eight home games in a span of 10 contests, as Columbus also hosts Arizona on Dec. 3 and the Rangers on Dec. 5.  

Road Warriors 

On the other hand, Columbus has a season-long five-game road swing in late March, the time of year when a playoff push could be on.  

The trek starts in Canada, then visits the New York City metroplex and finishes with a Southern swing. Columbus will visit Toronto on March 21, then face a back-to-back at New Jersey and vs. the Rangers on March 23-24. Next up is a March 27 game at Tampa Bay and then another back-to-back with a March 28 game at Dallas. 

There are also two four-game road swings. The Blue Jackets will visit Florida, Washington, Pittsburgh and Ottawa from Dec. 7-14 then go out west from Jan. 6-11 with games at Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose and Vegas. 

Metro Meetings

Here's the schedule against each Metropolitan Division foe, in alphabetical order.  

  • Carolina: The Eastern Conference finalists visit Columbus on Oct. 24/Jan. 16 and host the Jackets on Oct. 12/April 3. 
  • New Jersey: No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes and newly acquired defenseman PK Subban are in town on Dec. 21/Jan. 18 and host Columbus on Feb. 16/March 23. 
  • NY Rangers: No. 2 overall pick Kappo Kakko and newly acquired defenseman Jacob Trouba visit Nationwide on Dec. 5/Feb. 14 and the Jackets go to Madison Square Garden on Jan. 19/March 24.  
  • NY Islanders: Barry Trotz and his standout defensive squad are in town Oct. 19/March 30, while Columbus visits Long Island on Nov. 30/Dec. 23. 
  • Pittsburgh: The rival Penguins and Sidney Crosby cross the state line into Ohio for games Nov. 29/March 12 while the Jackets see the three rivers Oct. 5/Dec. 12. 
  • Philadelphia: A Flyers team banking on the development of goalie Carter Hart visits Columbus on Nov. 27/Feb. 20 and the Jackets return the favor by heading for cheesesteaks on Oct. 26/Feb. 18. 
  • Washington: Alex Ovechkin and crew come to town for games Dec. 16/March 19, while Columbus visits the nation's capital Dec. 9/Dec. 27. 
Road Trip! 

There are certain road swings Blue Jackets fans look forward to each year. Here's when each will happen. 

  • Viva Las Vegas: The annual trip to Sin City, which has sent Jackets fans flocking to Vegas in recent years, comes Saturday, Jan. 11 as the Jackets take on the Golden Knights in T-Mobile Arena. That will conclude a four-game road swing for Columbus which runs through Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose from Jan. 6-9. 
  • Fun in the sun: That early January swing knocks all three California teams off the Blue Jackets' road schedule for those who want to check out the West Coast vibes. Columbus fans have also made a habit of going to the Sunshine State for games vs. Tampa Bay and Florida, which are often back-to-back on the schedule. That won't be the case this year, though, as the Blue Jackets visit the Panthers on Dec. 7 and the Lightning on March 27, visiting each Florida squad just once this season.  
  • Gas up the car: The Blue Jackets three closest foes are Detroit (about a three-hour drive), Pittsburgh (the same) and Buffalo (five hours). If you're looking for a day trip, the Jackets will be in the Motor City on Tuesday, Dec. 17; in the Steel City on Saturday, Oct. 5 and Thursday, Dec. 12; and in the wings capital of the world twice in February on Saturday the 1st and Thursday the 13th (bring a coat).  
  • Western Canada: Then there's the subset of Blue Jackets fans who want the ultimate long-distance adventure -- the annual three-city swing through Western Canada's beautiful yet occasionally frigid landscape. Only the most ardent CBJ fans often make the jaunt, which this year takes the Jackets to Calgary on March 4, Edmonton on March 7 and finally Vancouver on March 8. 
Playoff Memories 

The Blue Jackets will reprise their playoff series from 2019 with two visits from Tampa Bay and one from Boston during the upcoming season. The Lightning will take a while to return to what was a house of horrors for the Bolts during the playoffs, with Columbus hosting the pair on Feb. 10 and April 2, while the Bruins will be back in Nationwide Arena on Jan. 14. 

All-Star Break 

The All-Star Game, which is tied to the five-game winter break for each team in the NHL, will take place Jan. 26 in St. Louis. In all, Columbus will be off from Jan. 22 to Feb. 1. 

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