January 26, 2017

NHL Hockey Betting: Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators

NHL Hockey Betting:  Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators&h=253&w=372&zc=1

The Columbus Blue Jackets are still among the top teams in the NHL but they’ve cooled off measurably since their record tying 16 game winning streak. The Jackets are just two points back of Metropolitan Division leading Washington but are just 5-5-0 in their last ten games. They’ve got Pittsburgh on their rear bumper just three points back and the New York Rangers just five points back. They’ve got some issues in the defensive corps with Markus Nutivaara out indefinitely and David Savard listed as ‘questionable’ here but the bigger problem is their inability to recapture the intensity they had during that winning streak.

The Nashville Predators remain one of the most erratic teams in the league. On any given night they can look like Stanley Cup contenders only to look like an AHL team the following night. The Preds are currently the ‘best of the rest’ in the Central Division–they’re in third place but have a lot of work to do if they want to contend with second place Chicago (11 points up) or first place Minnesota (13 points up). Nashville is 6-3-1 in their last ten games but they could be much better than that. Their last game against Buffalo at the Bridgestone Arena is a case in point. The Predators were up 4-2 midway through the third period only to have Buffalo come back to tie the game and win it in overtime on Jack Eichel’s second goal of the game. It was Nashville’s eighth overtime loss of the year which isn’t the worst in the league but not particuarly good either.

Both teams’ starting goalies are ‘penciled in’ for this contest. Nashville should send the equally erratic Pekka Rinne to start in net. Rinne is as good as any goalie in the NHL when he’s ‘on’ but has a tendency to lose focus and give up soft goals. He’s got a record of 18-12-6 with a 2.34 goals against average and 0.921 save percentage with 1 shutout. He’ll face Sergei Bobrovsky who has regressed somewhat from his epic form of the past two months. Hee’s 28-8-2 with a 2.04 goals against average and a 0.930 save percentage.

Always tough to handicap Nashville games. If the ‘good Preds’ show up they’ll win. If the ‘bad Preds’ show up they’ll lose. We’ll hope they take advantage of a home game heading into the break and get the ‘W’.