Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#75 New Jersey Devils 5.5 vs.
#76 Columbus Blue Jackets -190
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 7:05pm EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus
Written by Valdis Pans

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#75 New Jersey
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A two-game losing skid brings the New Jersey Devils (8th in Metropolitan Division) to a road contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets (5th in Metropolitan), who have won three outings in a row…

Devils Drop Two In Row

A four-date road trip went 0-2-0 after the first two fixtures for the New Jersey Devils (17-23-7), who followed up Tuesday’s 7-4 fiasco against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena two nights later. Wayne Simmonds (5 goals, 19 points this year) and Blake Coleman (19 goals, 27 points) made it a one-goal game after the Caps netted the first three markers of the contest before Washington buried two more strikes in the final third. New Jersey is 2-4-1 in its last seven outings after posting a five-game point run prior (4-0-1). It boasts a 10-14-0 record on the road so far this season.

Goalie Louis Domingue (3-5-0 on the year with a 3.66 GAA and a .883 save percentage) allowed two goals on 15 shots in the opening frame before leaving the fixture with a lower-body injury. Cory Schneider (0-5-1 this season with a 4.42 GAA and a .859 save percentage) made 20 saves in relief. He is 11-9-3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets previously with a 2.27 GAA and a .919 save percentage. The Devils, meanwhile, are 7th in least goals scored per game (2.64), 2nd in most goals given up on average (3.49), 2nd from the bottom in power play (14.2%) and 17th in penalty kill (79.4%).

Jackets Win Third Straight

The Columbus Blue Jackets (24-16-8) recorded a 2-0-0 tally on their current three-game homestand after the first two matchups following a 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at Nationwide Arena on Thursday. Nick Foligno (5 goals, 19 points this year) banked the winner with 1:41 left in the contest after Emil Bemstrom (5 goals, 12 points) and Cam Atkinson (10 goals, 23 points) gave the Jackets 1-0 and 2-1 leads respectively. Columbus has now won three contests in a row, going 5-0-1 in its last six fixtures and 13-2-4 in its past 19 games. The team has a 14-9-2 record when skating on own ice.

Goalie Elvis Merzlikins, who picked up shutouts in his previous two matchups, made 32 saves versus Carolina, taking his ongoing performance showing to 7-6-4 with a 2.50 GAA and a .922 save percentage. He has never faced the New Jersey Devils before, but is 1-2-0 against the Metropolitan Division historically with a 3.74 GAA and a .891 save percentage. The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, are scoring the 8th lowest quantity of goals per game (2.65), while conceding the 4th lowest amount in their defensive zone (2.58). They are 23rd in power play (17.5%) and 10th in penalty kill (82.0%).

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The Blue Jackets have gone on a mission to make the postseason, recording just two regulation defeats since the second week of December (13-2-4). And they are certain to continue in similar fashion versus New Jersey, which has already lost eight straight head-to-head outings against Columbus, including its past four trips to Ohio. The Blue Jackets have been dead solid on own ice lately, notching six victories on the past eight occasions, while the Devils have had considerable problems recovering from defensively poor showings, registering nine defeats in the last 12 contests after allowing at least five snipes in their previous fixture. Stick with the home favorite in this one!

Prediction: Columbus Blue Jackets (-190)

Full-Game Total Pick

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Out of the last six head-to-head encounters between the pair, five have failed to reach the six-goal mark, averaging just 3.20 goals per game. So, bet on this one to go under the total once again! The very last four overall matchups of the Blue Jackets have already delivered just a minimal amount of scoring, with an average of 3.75 strikes netted per fixture, as have eight of their previous nine outings, with the team playing after a day’s rest.

Prediction: Under 5.5
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Written By Valdis Pans

Valdis got his first ever article published when he was 13, and has rarely stopped. He has worked for FHM, MTV Baltics and has done loads of freelance (from columns for Cosmopolitan magazine to helping with organization of Macy Gray's shows in the Northern Europe). Speaks five different languages, loves pizza, American Horror Story and pipe organ music, and knows European soccer better than dates of his family members' birthdays. Is an avid fan of ice-hockey too. He is a Latvian after all...