Blue Jackets and Blackhawks Clinch Playoff Berths
With three weeks left in the NHL regular season, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks clinched playoff berths after both teams won games on March 19th. They were the second and third teams to clinch behind the Washington Capitals.
Columbus scored two goals on penalty shots—only the third time in league history that has happened-and beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 in Newark. The Blue Jackets last made the playoffs in 2014. Last year Columbus was dead last in the Metropolitan Division with 76 points. With the Victory over the Devils, the Blue Jackets reached 100 points, tying them with Washington for the most points in the Eastern Conference, with Pittsburgh right behind with 99. Columbus has won eight of their last 10 and show no signs of fading. Coach John Tortorella has to be among the leaders for the Jack Adams Award as the top coach in the NHL this season.
While the Blue Jackets are returning to the playoffs after three years, the Chicago Blackhawks clinched a post season berth for the ninth straight season. The Blackhawks scored five goals in the third period and defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 at the United Center. Like Columbus, Chicago has won eight of 10 and now leads the slumping Minnesota Wild by seven points in the Central Division.