Easy Winner With the Blue Jackets Over Flames

Dana Lane

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 5:43 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 5:43 PM UTC

The Columbus Blue Jackets have earned my attention after winning four straight games; we’re riding the streak Wednesday when the Calgary Flames visit Nationwide Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. ET

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Calgary Flames at Columbus Blue Jackets

I have the Columbus Blue Jackets (13-7-1) ranked third in my latest power ratings, so obviously I feel strongly about this team's chances to win the Stanley Cup, but even with the Calgary Flames (12-8) ranked 6th, this won’t be an easy victory despite the fact that I have this game a two-goal win for Columbus. No, that doesn’t mean go out and bet the puck line.

The big statistic being thrown around is the Flames' 5-1 record when facing a team with a winning record after their convincing win against the Capitals on Sunday. On the flip side, Columbus is just 2-5 against winning teams, but I’m here to tell you that none of that means anything because I can easily counter with the fact that Columbus has beaten Calgary five of their last eight meetings. You can twist numbers anyway you see fit to conform to an opinion.

What I know is the Jackets have a major advantage in goal with Sergei Bobrovsky (12-4-1) against Mike Smith (11-6) for Calgary. “Bob” always seems to be in the right position while showing off his athleticism when needed. His 2.02 goals-against is the best in the league so far with his save percentage of .933 ranking him second in that category. In the Jackets' win streak, they’ve only allowed four total goals.

Bobrovsky has the luxury of playing in back of a deep collection of defensemen. Led by Zack Werenski and Seth Jones, John Tortorella’s team allows just 31.2 shots per game and does slightly better with Bobrovsky in net (30.94). He also has had the luxury of playing with a lead. Columbus has scored the first goal in five straight games.

Smith is facing a ton of shots, which is why his save percentage is a solid .922 but his goals against is still a poor 2.61. That's an improvement for Smith, whose career goals-against is 2.70. He is an average goalie. Yes, I get the Coyotes were a major part of his resume, but even in Calgary he hasn’t established himself as a net-minder that can steal a game for Glenn Gulutzan’s team. Speaking of Totorella, he was responsible for Jackets coach Glen Gulutzan's start in the NHL when he hired him in Vancouver to be his assistant coach.

The Flames have dropped five of their last seven against Columbus and are 4-10 in their last 14 games against teams with a winning record. The Jackets are 7-2 in their last nine against the Pacific Division.

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