If the Columbus Blue Jackets are able to complete this run and actually make the playoffs it's going to be one of the more amazing stories of the 2013 NHL season.
It's also going to build quite an MVP and Vezina resume for goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
But if they do it they're going to have to continue to be road warriors as their current six-game road trip rolls on Sunday night in San Jose. And they're going to need Bobrovsky to continue to be a brick wall in the crease.
The Blue Jackets have managed to win three of the first four games (at Minnesota, Colorado, and Anaheim) on the trip before dropping a tight one in Los Angeles on Thursday. They still have games remaining with the Sharks on Sunday and at Dallas later this week before returning home for the regular-season finale against Nashville.
For a team that started this trip with a 5-11-2 mark on the road for the season it's kind of unbelievable they've done as well as they have against the type of competition they've faced, but that's pretty much been the story of the 2013 Blue Jackets.
The play of Bobrovsky continues to be the driving force behind their success, and they're going to need him on Sunday night in San Jose against what is one of the hottest teams in the NHL. The Sharks enter having won three in a row and earned at least a point in the standings in eight of their past 10 games. Over their past 14 games they're 11-2-1 and starting to score goals in bunches again like they were earlier in the season. San Jose creates a lot of shots, Columbus gives up a lot of shots, and that means Bobrovsky is probably going to be seeing a lot of frozen rubber flying in his direction Sunday night.
Thanks to Detroit's shootout loss to Vancouver on Saturday night the Jackets enter the day still one point ahead of the Red Wings for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference, but Detroit still has a game in hand the rest of the way. That means Columbus has to approach every game with the idea that there's very little margin for error.
Clinching/Elimination scenarios for Sunday
The San Jose Sharks clinch with a win or overtime loss against Columbus.
The St. Louis Blues clinch with a win against Colorado.
The New Jersey Devils are eliminated with any loss against the New York Rangers.
12:30 p.m. ET: Florida at Boston: Thanks to their 3-2 loss to the Penguins on Saturday the best the Bruins can do this season in the Eastern Conference is finish with the No. 2 seed by way of winning the Northeast Division. The Canadiens continued their late-season fall on Saturday night with a 5-1 loss against Washington, so that still puts Boston, which has two games in hand on the Canadiens, in the driver's seat to take the division title. The Bruins get a reeling Florida team on Sunday afternoon to start that push.
3 p.m. ET: New Jersey at New York Rangers: Well, as mentioned above this is everything for the Devils. If they lose, they're done. It's not exactly a comfortable position for the Rangers either as they enter the game just one point up on Winnipeg for the final playoff spot in the East.
6 p.m. ET: Calgary at Minnesota: The Wild have been slumping at the wrong time of the season, and given the cushion they gave themselves with a midseason hot streak and how soft their remaining schedule is they will have nobody to blame but themselves if they miss the playoffs. Three of their final four games are against teams at the bottom of the Western Conference, including Sunday's game with Calgary. They're three points up on Detroit entering Sunday's game.
9 p.m. ET: Dallas at Los Angeles: The Stars have been a fascinating story as they've managed to stay in the playoff hunt after trading so many veterans before the deadline, but their remaining schedule is very tough with road games at Los Angeles and San Jose, and then home games against Columbus and Detroit. On the plus side, those home games could very well decide the final playoff spots in the West. The classic "four-point games."