Vancouver Canucks (5-4) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (2-5)
According to current NHL betting odds the Canucks are a -115 road favorite and the total is posted at 5.5. Vancouver has dominated this series in recent years winning 13 of the last 16 versus Columbus. These teams have seen 8 of their last 9 meetings go under the total including the last 5 that have been played in Columbus.
Ice Cold in Columbus
The Blue Jackets enter tonight’s home game at the Nationwide Arena attempting to snap a 4-game losing streak. This will be their second game in less than 24 hours. Last night they fell 4-1 at Washington. It wasn’t for a lack of effort as they were stymied by Capitals goalie Braden Holtby who stopped 37 of 38 Columbus shots on goal. Columbus was able to avoid being shutout when Artem Anisimov scored his 2nd of the season with 4:55 left in the game. During the current 4-game losing streak the Blue Jackets have scored just 6-goals including 1 or less in 3 of the 4. Columbus is 23rd in the NHL averaging just 2.1 goals per game. However, it’s not because they aren’t sustaining offensive pressure as they’re 5th in the NHL averaging 32.7 shots on goal per game. The Jackets power play has been efficient converting 24% of their chances which is good for 9th best in the league. Former Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky has started all 7-games for Columbus and has posted a 2.70 GAA and a respectable .917 save percentage. Bobrovsky is scheduled to be in goal once again this evening.
Inside the Blue Jackets Numbers
Columbus has gone a miserable 8-23 in their last 31 games when playing with no rest. They’re also an awful 19-57 in their last 76 versus an opponent with a winning record. This will be the Jackets 4th game in the last 6 days. They’ve done very well when cast into that role winning 5 of their last 6 in that exact situation. Dating back to last season Columbus has won 7 of their last 10 at home.
Road Weary and Battling Hard
This will be the 3rd game in 4 days and the 4th in 6 days for the Vancouver Canucks. Making things even tougher is the fact that all of those games including tonight have taken place or are on the road. They’ve held up very well thus far earning 5 of a possible 6 points in their last 3 games. Last night they had their 2-game win streak snapped at Pittsburgh losing in an overtime shootout 4-3. Zach Kassian scored his 1st of the season to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead with 7:10 to go in the 3rd period, only to see the Penguins tie the game just 22 seconds later. The Canucks carried the play for most of the game outshooting the Penguins 39-28 but fell prey to a hot goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury. Roberto Luongo is scheduled to be in goal this evening for the Canucks.
Inside the Canucks Numbers
Vancouver hasn’t been bothered in recent history when playing with no rest winning 11 of their last 15 games in that scenario. Vancouver is also a perfect 7-0 in the last 7 when playing with no rest following an overtime loss. Similar to Columbus the Canucks will be playing their 4th game in 6 days this evening. They’ve also thrived when called upon to do so going a profitable 8-2 in that exact situation. The Canucks have been consistent in beating the team they’re suppose to winning 13 of the last 17 versus opponents with a losing record.
In a battle of two teams that enter tonight both playing their 4th game in 6 days it comes down to a battle of wills. The Canucks in my opinion are more suited for these types of situations with their combination of size and speed. In addition they will be facing an opponent tonight that’s ice cold and is struggling to find the back of the net. My lean here is with the small road favorite.
Free Pick: Vancouver -115 over Columbus