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2016-17 Season in review

Looking back on the best season in franchise history

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

The 2016-17 season was one for the record books. The team fought from 27th in the league last season to the fourth in the NHL. They clinched their third playoff berth in franchise history and shattered team records across the board.

We took a look back at the season that was.

September

65 players showed up for the Blue Jackets training camp, a tough outing under the leadership of John Tortorella that was meant to test the team not just physically but mentally. As the roster started to take shape, the Jackets split the first four of their pre-season games going 2-2-0.

October

After four more pre-season matches, the Jackets roster was finalized for opening night. Sprinkled among returning veterans, fresh faces like Sam Gagner joined the ranks along with rookies such as Zach Werenski, Lukas Sedlak and Markus Nutivaara. But the Jackets dropped their first two games, including the home opener to Boston Oct. 13. 

With a five-day break between games two and three, the Jackets worked on their game and come Oct. 21, the team got its first win of the season over the Chicago Blackhawks. They'd beat Dallas and Anaheim and go 3-3-1 for the month.

November

The month started off with a bang. The Jackets won three of their next four games, including a 10-0 defeat of the Montreal Canadiens, the most goals scored in a game in team history. The Jackets went nine of 14 on the month and dropped only two games in regulation. By the time November ended, the Jackets had jumped from 25th to ninth in the league, and 19-year-old Zach Werenski earned rookie of the month honors.

Video: Four Blue Jackets score twice in dominating 10-0 win

December

The best month in franchise history.

The Blue Jackets did not lose one of their 14 games in the final month of the calendar year, including a 4-2 New Year's Eve victory over the Minnesota Wild who came into the game with a 12-game winning streak.

Sam Gagner was named third star of the week for Dec. 5-11, Sergei Bobrovsky was named first star of the month, and the Jackets ended 2016 ranked first overall in both the NHL and the Metro Division.

January

The first game of 2017 was a win for the Jackets over Edmonton, marking a 16-game win streak that set a new franchise record and was second best in league history.

Three players were named All-Stars: Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson and Sergei Bobrovsky, and while he ultimately missed the game, John Tortorella was named head coach of the Metro Division All-Star team. Curtis McElhinney moved on to Toronto, and Joonas Korpisalo joined Bobrovsky to complete the Jackets goalie tandem for the balance of the season.

Video: Mike Todd wraps up NHL All-Star weekend in LA!

February

Oliver Bjorkstrand re-joined the Jackets Feb. 15 and scored the game-winning goal in his first game back. He scored a total of four points (2-2-4) in his first five games after being recalled.

The Jackets hovered right around .500 in the shortest month of the year before heading into their five-day bye week. Teams had struggled coming out of these breaks, but this team continued to buck trends. Their first game back was a 7-0 win over the New York Islanders, and they beat the Rangers in the next matchup 5-2.

March

With trade deadline acquisitions Kyle Quincey and Lauri Korpikoski added to the roster, the Jackets won ten of 16 games, and clinched the franchise's third ever playoff berth in a 4-1 win in New Jersey. The team broke franchise records for home wins, total wins, home points, and total points all in March.

Sergei Bobrovsky had four shutouts, including two that came back-to-back against the Devils. He was nominated for the Masterton Trophy and was named second star of the month. Zach Werenski set a new franchise record for total points by a rookie with an assist in the Mar. 10 win over Buffalo. Seth Jones tied the franchise record for goals by a defenseman (12) and with Werenski, the two became the first two Jackets defensemen to each exceed 40 points in a single season.

Video: Bobrovsky earns Saturday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

April

The Jackets closed out the regular season losing six of their last seven, but it was the first time the team lost more than two consecutive games all year. The earned their 50th win of the season in their final game against Toronto to end the season with 108 points.

In the opening round of the playoffs, the Jackets fell by a series score of 4-1 to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. 

 In Review

On the season, the Jackets set franchise records for goals scored (247), and scored seven or more goals five times. They were second in the NHL in average goals against (2.35) with eight total shutouts and only one goal allowed in 18 games.

Cam Atkinson netted 35 goals and ended the year tied for eighth in the league for goals scored in his fourth straight 20-goal season.

Sergei Bobrovsky finished the season first overall in the league in save percentage (.931) and set a franchise record for wins (41). He is one of the top three candidates for the Vezina Trophy.

Zach Werenski (11-36-47) has been named a finalist for the Calder Trophy. He led all Jackets defensemen in goals, assists, and points and is second all-time for points by a Jackets' defenseman.

Alexander Wennberg (13-46-59) and Seth Jones (12-30-42) both set career highs in points, assists and goals. Brandon Saad had his third straight season with 20-plus goals and 50-plus points and tied his career high for assists and points. Nick Foligno (26-25-51) finished second among all Jackets in goals and third in total points.

Above all else, the mindset of the team has shifted.

"I think we've raised the expectations in this organization and it's been a fun ride," Foligno said. "We know we're a team that the Stanley Cup is our goal. It's pretty exciting to say that realistically now."

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