NHL Picks: Can Brewer Make the Difference in Tonight's Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets?

Joe Catalano

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 1:46 PM GMT

Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2015 1:46 PM GMT

The Columbus Blue Jackets had a respectable season, but unfortunately for them, will be playing for pride as they host the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs in a game of two teams playing out the string. See who we like in this lopsided NHL affair.

Face-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.ET at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. According to 5 Dimes Sportsbook. the Blue Jackets are a -180 betting favorite and the total for the game is 5.5 goals on the NHL betting odds.

Blue Jackets Are 9-0-1 in Their Last 10 Games

While these odds may seem steep, I don't think that they're steep enough. Columbus is coming off of an overtime loss to the best team in the league in the New York Rangers and previous to that had won 9 straight games. They simply caught fire too late in the season to make it to the playoffs but are finishing the season with a bang and Toronto should be no match for them. Let's take a look.

 

Reimer vs. Bobrovsky
We have confirmation that James Reimer will be in net for the Leafs and Sergei Bobrovsky will be between the pipes for the Jackets.

Despite an overtime loss to the New York Rangers, Bobrovsky is 10-1-1 in his last 12 games. He's had a mere average season, but this run has definitely padded his numbers at 28-17-3 with a 2.76 GAA, but it doesn't change the fact that he had a great March and is facing an inferior Maple Leafs squad. He's had one matchup with the Leafs this season and came up on the short end of the stick and I expect that to change tonight.

The Maple Leafs are near the bottom of the NHL in offense and defense and it reflects in goalie, James Reimer's record. Reimer comes into this game with at 21-28-6 with a 2.89 GAA. I've seen much worse numbers on some bottom-feeders as Reimer sports a .912 SV%, but it's safe to say that Toronto would like for this season to end. Expect Reimer to give it his all, but a lack of offensive support could hurt him in tonight's game.

Cash in with our top three picks for tonight's short betting slate!

Nick Foligno
The Blue Jackets leading scorer isn't go to spray the opposing goal with a ton of shots on goal, but the one's that he does take, he makes them count.

Foligno has just 171 shots on goal this season, but has managed to convert that into a team leading 30 goals and 41 assists. He has been on fire as of late with a hat trick in a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. In his last 5 games, Foligno has 4 goals and 2 assists. Efficiency in his time on the ice has turned Foligno into a star in this league and a major reason why the Blue Jackets have been on a tear as of late.

Facing Reimer and the Maple Leafs, this is a great chance for the winger to add to his seasonal totals and help contribute to another Columbus win in front of their home town fans.

 

Outplayed
While Phil Kessel (59 points), James Van Riemsdyk (55 points) and Tyler Bozak (47 points) have all had good seasons, they all sport plus/minus ratios of -30 or worse and nobody on the squad even comes close to that.

One player who has played in just handful of games, but could be a factor in this game is defenseman Eric Brewer. In 42 games this season, Brewer has just 3 goals and 8 assists. That said, he's coming off of a 2 assist game against the Ottawa Senators and has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 4 games. I know that he's no world-beater, but Brewer could be the difference in a game with no meaning as he attempts to finish the season off strong. Take the Blue Jackets with your NHL picks.

NHL Pick- Columbus -180 at 5Dimes

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