NHL Picks: Penguins vs. Blue Jackets

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, November 2, 2013 3:30 PM GMT

The Columbus Blue Jackets host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nationwide Arena with faceoff coming at 7:05 PM ET.

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Saturday 11/2/2013

Pittsburgh Penguins (10-4) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (5-7) 7:05 PM ET

According to NHL betting odds the Penguins are a -135 money line road favorite and the posted total is 5.5. These two clubs have seen all of their last 6 meetings go over the total.

Getting Hot Again

After enduring a rare 3-game losing streak Pittsburgh enters tonight having won 3 in a row. Their most recent win came last night in a 4-2 home win over these same Columbus Blue Jackets. Four different players scored for the Penguins and none of them were named Sidney Crosby. The NHL leading scorer did get an assist on the Penguins first goal of the night giving him a league leading 22-points on the season. Marc-Andre Fleury turned in another stellar performance last night stopping 37 of 39 shots and improved his record on the season to 10-2. Tonight will mark the Penguins 3rd game in 4 days and their 6th over the last 9.

NHL Picks of the Day for Saturday~

The Skinny on the Penguins

The Penguins are currently 8th in the NHL in both scoring offense (3.1 GPG) and scoring defense (2.4 GPG). They’re converting a very good 22.4% on the power plays which is also 8th best in the league. Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury aren’t the only ones off to a great start to the season for the Penguins. Defensemen Matt Niskanen has 9-points and is an outstanding +13. Left wing Chris Kunitz has 7-goals in addition to 7-assists and is a +11 through the first 14-games.

Recent Penguins Trends

  • The Penguins are 40-11 in their last 51-games following a win.
  • The Penguins are 39-14 in their last 53-games versus an Eastern Conference opponent.
  • The Penguins are 58-23 in their last 81-games versus an opponent with a losing record.
  • The Penguins are 45-19 in their last 64-games when playing their 3rd game in 4-days.
  • The Penguins have gone over the total in 12 of their last 16-games when playing with no rest.

Immediate Chance for Revenge

Besides winning the game tonight the other motivating factor for Columbus will be to get immediate redemption for last night’s loss to the Penguins. The Blue jackets can draw from some positives despite the defeat. They outshot the Penguins by a wide margin by a count of 39-27. In addition they didn’t quit after falling behind 4-0 continuing to battle but were just stymied by a red-hot goaltender. I would also think there will be a good chance they will be facing the Penguins rookie goaltender Jeff Zatkoff tonight. Zatkoff is 0-2 so far this season with a monster 5.06 GAA and a horrible .818 save percentage. 

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Recent Columbus Trends

  • The Blue Jackets are 4-0 in their last 4 home games versus an opponent with a winning record.
  • The Blue Jackets are 10-4 overall in the last 14 at home.
  • The Blue Jackets are 9-23 in their last 32-games when playing with no rest.
  • The Blue Jackets are 21-52 in their last 73-games versus opponents with a winning percentage of better than .600.
  • The Blue Jackets have failed to go under the total in their last 4-games.

Final Analysis

Both of these teams will be playing with no rest and most likely this will be a battle of backup goaltenders. If indeed that’s the case I much prefer Curtis McElhinney of Columbus over Jeff Zatkoff of Pittsburgh. My small lean of an NHL pick goes on the home underdog.

Free Pick: Columbus +115 over Pittsburgh