Heading into the NHL All-Star weekend fans know that the columbus Blue Jackets are arguably one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. However, it is yet to be known just how good the Jackets actually are when it comes to the discussion of who the best team in the league is right now. Jackets fans will be pleased to know that their team traveled to Glendale, Arizona and secured a late victory against the Arizona Coyotes, ending the first half of the regular season on a good note.

Bobrovsky holds the fort down while Cam returns in style

Play wasn't strongly dictated by the Blue Jackets as they were bested by the Coyotes in total shots on goal 39-27.

The main factor behind this convincing victory was the solid performance by goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who recorded 38 saves. In the post-game interview head coach John Tortorella noted that no matter how ugly it was, his team still won 2 out of 3 games before the All-Star break. Tortorella went on to say that until the Jackets can become more consistent they have got to continue to scratch and claw to get victories such as this one.

In the second and third periods alone Bobrovsky, nicknamed "Bob" by Jackets fans, managed to record a combined 29 of his 38 saves. Center Alexander Wennberg scored the first goal for Columbus, and then right winger Cam Atkinson scored the game-winning goal late in the third period to get the Jackets past the Coyotes 2-1.

This was Atkinson's first game back since suffering a foot injury. With 3:03 remaining in the game Wennberg delivered a perfect cross-ice feed to the right side of the crease, allowing Atkinson to tap the puck into the net for his seventh goal of the season.

The goal came as a relief to Atkinson as he was eager to get back on the ice again.

Two screws were inserted into his right foot as part of his surgery on December 27, so he ended up missing a total of 6 weeks and 11 games.

Columbus now has 57 points in the regular season, and their current record is 27-19-5. They are now back in second place in the Metropolitan Division, jumping back up from the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Blue Jackets and their challenges with penalty-killing

While they enter the All-Star break with positive vibes, the truth is the Blue Jackets still have some work to do going forward. One ugly truth this season is that Columbus ranks last out of 31 teams in the NHL in penalty-kill percentage when they play on the road with 67.8 percent. In contrast, the Blue Jackets have done very well at home in penalty-killing situations as they have allowed only 9 goals out of 69 times. That ranks as fifth best in the league at 87 percent.

Tortorella has no explanation for why there is such a big difference between killing penalties on their home ice of Nationwide Arena and whenever they go on the road.

Tortorella went on to say that the biggest thing is for his players to work on trusting one another. Left winger Matt Calvert agrees, saying that trust is as good of a place to start as any. Calvert thinks it's just about being consistent, and that's what tells the story behind the statistical difference in penalty kills. Calvert stated that he and his teammates have got to consistently trust each other and be on the same page.

The Blue Jackets will certainly need to work on becoming more consistent as they are looking up to a few other teams in the Eastern Conference. The Tampa Bay Lightning are currently the class of the conference and the NHL, leading the Atlantic Division with a record of 34-12-3 and 71 points.

The Lightning is proving to not be a fluke from their strong push to the playoffs last season. In the current league standings there is a difference of 7 wins between Columbus and Tampa Bay, which isn't huge, but as the season winds down it may become an indicator of which teams will be at the very top and which will be positioned below them.