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Previewing December

by Brad Friedman / Columbus Blue Jackets

Number of games: 12 (against 10 opponents)

Approximate number of miles to be covered: 3,577

2013-14 record of opponents: 426-263-111

Average point total: 96

2013-14 Columbus record vs. opponents: 15-14-2

2013-14 season sweeps: Two (3-0 vs. Florida & 2-0 vs. Minnesota)

Best 2013-14 record: Boston (54-19-9)

Worst 2013-14 record: Florida (29-45-8)

Number of playoff teams: Seven

Most successful December in franchise history: 2006 (9-5-2)

Key home matchups: Dec. 13 vs. Pittsburgh (rematch of playoffs), Dec. 20 vs. Chicago (Western Conference runners-up), Dec. 27 vs. Boston (President’s Trophy winners), Dec. 31 vs. Minnesota (New Year’s Eve, 2014 playoff team)

Key road matchups: 12/6 vs. Tampa Bay (third-seed in 2014 playoffs), Dec. 11 vs. Washington (divisional matchup)

What it all means: Outside of Columbus’ early venture to the Sunshine State, which accounts for roughly 2,385 of the 3,577 miles listed above, the Blue Jackets get a month where they get to stay close to home. Eight of the Blue Jackets’ 12 games in December will take place within the friendly confines of Nationwide Arena - where the Blue Jackets had a goal differential of +25 and netted 128 goals, putting them in a tie for seventh with Colorado for goals scored on home ice.

32 of those 128 goals came on the power play, placing the Jackets third in the league in home power play goals.

As part of their quest for a better start in 2014-15, the Blue Jackets also want to be near the top of the Metropolitan Division and thus near a playoff spot. Only four of their 12 games in December come against Metropolitan Division opponents, but three of those four will take place on home ice.

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