National Hockey League action on Thursday evening and the Central Division will square off with the Metro Division as the Dallas Stars grapple with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The Stars enter this game off a 4-2 road win over the Red Wings, while the Blue Jackets are off a 5-2 home loss to the Canucks. Goalie Probables: The Stars will be sending out Ben Bishop in this one and Blue Jackets will counter with Sergei Bobrovsky.
Lines: Columbus -111/ Dallas +101
Spezza Ends Drought to Lead Stars Over Red Wings
The Dallas Stars are in the midst of a four-game road trip and they have started it out well as they won the first two games of the trip so far. In the first game, they took down Boston by a score of 3-2 in OT and then followed it up with a 4-2 win over the Red Wings on Tuesday night. The Stars have not been a great road team this year so getting off to a good start on the trip was imperative. Jason Spezza came up with a solid game in the win over the Red Wings as he scored twice in the game, which snapped a 14-game scoreless streak he was on. He now has seven goals on the year. Also scoring in the win was Radek Faksa, which was his 11th of the year and Martin Hanzal, which was his 4th. The Stars are now at 10-13 on the road and they have averaged 2.52 gpg and have allowed 3.13 gpg in those games. Snatching up the win against the Red Wings was Ben Bishop, who stopped 13 of the 15 shots that he faced in the game to improve to 20-14 with a 2.51 GAA and a .916 save percentage on the year, including 5-8 with a 3.27 GAA and a .889 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 66-65 with a 2.49 GAA on the road and 106-66 with a 2.30 GAA against the Eastern Conference, while against the Blue Jackets he has gone 5-4 with a 1.84 GAA.
Dallas has been above average on offense so far as they come in ranked 12th in the league in scoring at 2.98 gpg, while also ranking 17th in shots taken (31.3 spg) and 12th in power play conversions, converting on 20.3% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been a bit above average as they come in ranked 11th in goals allowed, giving up 2.72 gpg, while also ranking 2nd in shots allowed (29.6 spg) and 15th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 18.5% of their chances.
Jackets Fall To Lowly Canucks
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be in the postseason this year, while the Vancouver Canucks will not and yet it was Vancouver that came out on top in a 5-2 win Friday night, here at home. Columbus just overlooked the Canucks and it was on the heels of a 3-1 loss to the Sabres on the road. Still, they in 3rd place in the Metro Division and in 5th pace in the Eastern Conference, but they have now gone just 3-6 in their last nine games and they are hoping that the little break will help them get back on track. The Blue Jackets must really fix their offense if they hope to make a deep run in the postseason as they have now averaged just 2.00 gpg over their last 14 games. Scoring in the loss to the Canucks was Seth Jones, which was his 8th of the year and Matt Calvert, which was his 5th, The Blue Jackets have gone 15-8 here at home for the year and they have averaged 2.48 gpg and have allowed 2.43 gpg in those games. Taking the loss against the Canucks was Sergei Bobrovsky, who allowed four goals on 28 shot attempts, to fall to 21-17 with a 2.44 GAA and a .920 save percentage on the year, including 12-6 with a 2.07 GAA and a .933 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 105-79 with a 2.41 GAA in his home games and 77-60 with a 2.39 GAA against the Western Conference, while against the Stars he has gone 10-2 with a 1.74 GAA.
The Blue Jackets have been poor on offense so far as they come in ranked 28th in the league in scoring at 2.59 gpg, while also ranking 7th in shots taken (34.0 spg) and 30th in power play conversions, converting on 13.5% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very good as they come in ranked 12th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.74 gpg, while also ranking 11th in shots allowed (31.4 spg) and 24th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 21.5% of their chances.
- The Under is 9-0 in their last nine when their opponent allows five goals or more in their previous game
- The Under is 5-0 in their last five vs. the Central
- The Under is 6-2 in their last eight following a home loss of three or more goals
This has a chance of being a very good game between a couple of teams that should be a part of the postseason party this year. The Blue Jackets have really struggled on offense of late as they have scored just 11 goals in their last seven games. That isn’t likely to get any better against Ben Bishop, who has a career GAA of 1.84 against them. The Stars have averaged just 2.52 gpg on the road for the year and the Blue Jackets have allowed just 2.43 gpg here at home, plus we note that Sergei Bobrovsky has a 1.74 GAA in his career against the Stars. This has the feeling of a low-scoring game.