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Hot streak has Jackets thinking playoffs @NHLdotcom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Six weeks after it appeared their playoff hopes were dead in the water, the Columbus Blue Jackets are suddenly one of the hottest teams on ice.

They've won four of five games and picked up points in eight of nine. They woke up on Thursday morning in the heat of the chase for a playoff spot in the wild, wild West.

Heading into Thursday's NHL action, the Blue Jackets were one of eight teams separated by four points - all playing for the final four playoff spots in the West. With a record of 30-23-6 for 66 points, they find themselves just four points out of fifth place. Or, if you prefer, three points out of 13th in the conference.

With 23 games left, there is little margin for error. Someone ahead of them is always winning and the Blue Jackets have to keep up.

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