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Jackets suddenly in midst of playoff race

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets had the worst record in the NHL, just as they did last season.

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Then goalie Sergei Bobrovsky began blocking every shot that came close to him and the Blue Jackets started pushing back against teams that had been dominating them.

Now they're on a franchise-record nine-game points streak and shockingly find themselves within range of a playoff spot as the condensed season winds down.

Through Thursday's action, the Blue Jackets had 26 points and were just four points out a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference - which they are playing in for the final time before a much anticipated and long awaited jump to the East next season.

A year of transition has suddenly become a season of hope.

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