The Columbus Blue Jackets have never won a Game 6. Their record in elimination games is 1-4 (1-3 at home). Below are the results of those elimination games:
Lost 6-5, Game 4, 2009, Detroit, Home
Lost 4-3, Game 6, 2014, Pittsburgh, Home
Won 5-4, Game 4, 2017, Pittsburgh, Home
Lost 5-2, Game 5, 2017, Pittsburgh, Away
Lost 6-3, Game 6, 2018, Washington, Home
In two chances the Jackets have failed to force a Game 7.
But...before this season the CBJ had never:
1. Advanced to the Second Round
2. Swept a playoff series
3. Played more than 6 playoff games (in one season)
4. Had a winning playoff record (currently 6-3) and...
5. No President's Trophy winner had ever been swept in a first round series
Boston was in this very position in Round 1. In fact their 1st round Game 6, elimination game was on the road in Toronto. They advanced being down 3 games to 2. Why can'd the Jackets?
Is This The End?
I don't believe it is, at least not tonight. Game 6 is in a very loud Nationwide Arena. CBJ players know the urgency of this game. They had a breakthrough in the 3rd period of Game 5 scoring 3 goals and evening the score (before a momentary let down). And most importantly because Torts says there will be a Game 7.
In this interview was Coach Tortorella was annoyed, frustrated or just eager to get back to work preparing for Game 6. He seemed annoyed with the questions, frustrated with the Game 5 results and eager to get Game 6 started.
Forcing Game 7
How does the CBJ make it happen tonight?
Bring an intensity to play earlier in the game. Don't be so intense that you take bad penalties, but have an energy about your game from the start.
Don't open it up too much on offense, that is not CBJ hockey. While activating the d-corp to jump into the offensive zone and keep the pressure on is good, they need to pick their spots. Giving up odd-man rushes or high-danger scoring opportunities by trying to force offense will backfire.
Score the first goal and play with a lead. In no way am I advocating for getting a lead and trying to hang on, hoping BOS doesn't come back. But getting a lead and playing from a position of strength and confidence will limit pressure on this team.
It's likely that the forward lines will get juggled all game until Torts finds something he likes.
Nash seems to be moving back into the line up with Texier continuing to be a scratch, but that is what I thought last game too, we will have to wait and see...
Gavrikov should be the 6th defensemen tonight with Clendening sitting out.
***UPDATE 3:03 pm according to NHL.com Hannikainen skated in practice and could be in tonight's line up. My guess is that it would be for the once-again-underachieving Wennberg. Not a bad option***
These next few hours cannot tick away fast enough. It is time to play.