The Columbus Blue Jackets are headed into a five-game home stand, which opens on Tuesday against the New York Islanders and continues with match-ups against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday and the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
Previously, the Jackets have won four of their last five. After dismantling the Montreal Canadiens in a home-and-home series, the Jackets took a rough loss in Edmonton against the Oilers, before bouncing back with victories against the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.
This week begins with the match-up against the New York Islanders, who currently sit in third in the Metro Division behind the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers.
The Islanders are 2-2 in their last four, but snapped a two-game skid with an 8-1 win over the Oilers on Sunday. The victory was led by Kyle Okposo, who had a hat trick and was one of six different players with goals.
Up next, on Thursday, the Jackets take on the Anaheim Ducks, who are riding a six-game winning streak as they embark on a seven-game road trip -- Columbus is the third stop, after the Ducks begin the week with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
In goal, John Gibson and Frederik Andersen have split the wins during the Ducks’ current streak at three apiece. On the offensive side, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Rickard Rakell have been major contributors to the Ducks of late, but keep an eye on Hampus Lindholm, a third-year defenseman who has tallied a goal in three straight games.
On Saturday, the Jackets take on Ottawa, who ended a three-game losing streak with a 6-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs over the weekend. The team's stop in Columbus will wrap up a busy week for the Senators, as they also take on the Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche before the weekend.
Mike Hoffman and Bobby Ryan have been leading the way offensively for the Senators, but look out for Erik Karlsson, who has dished out 48 assists while also tallying 11 goals in 53 games thus far. Craig Anderson has struggled in net lately, but has carried the load between the pipes in five straight. With four games this week, Andrew Hammond could see some action over the course of the week.
The Jackets come into this week with some optimism, not just with the recent wins, but also with the play from its young talent. Such an emergence of young talent can make for some entertaining hockey at Nationwide Arena, where the Jackets will play 15 of their next 20.
It’s good to be back home… we’ll see you at Nationwide, 5th Line.