The situation for the Blue Jackets is not unlike what they faced two weeks ago: coming off a four-game losing streak, their only choice was to re-group and re-focus for a key stretch of home games that could get them back on track.
Wins over Vancouver, New Jersey and Toronto pulled the Jackets to .500 (5-5-0), but in the week since, they've dropped three straight including a back-to-back series to the Pittsburgh Penguins
over the weekend. Columbus was outscored 7-2 in the two-game set and never held a lead, and Saturday's loss was particularly frustrating because they never really tested Penguins rookie goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, who made 19 saves to record his first career shutout.
Up next on the schedule is Tuesday's game against the Senators, a team that has scuffled in recent weeks but rallied late in Sunday's game to earn a point. Bobby Ryan, the key component of a major offseason trade made by Senators GM Bryan Murray, scored the tying goal with nine seconds left to force overtime against Dallas. Ottawa has won three of its past 10 contests and has not played well at home, but after opening the season on a long road trip, they're pretty accustomed to playing away from the Canadian capital.
One of the storylines in this first meeting of the season between Ottawa and Columbus revolves around a trade made in the summer of 2012, when the Jackets sent defenseman Marc Methot to his hometown Senators in exchange for Nick Foligno
, who has become a key part of the dressing room in Columbus. Both players will play their first game against the clubs that drafted them on Tuesday night.
Most importantly for the Blue Jackets is putting the Pittsburgh series in the past and keying on this week of games. After hosting the Senators on Tuesday, the Jackets welcome the New York Rangers
on Thursday (anyone know of some things we could write about for that one?) and the New York Islanders on Saturday night. It's an important part of their schedule and one that, if successful, could propel them back into the division playoff race.