The Arizona Coyotes will be trying to kick their season off with a win when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. The Coyotes finished the 2020 season with a 24-26-6 record. The Blue Jackets finished the 2020 season with an 18-26-12 record.
Columbus is 8-2-0 in its last 10 games against Arizona.
Coyotes Undergoing Another RebuildThe Coyotes finished with the 10th-best record in the Western Conference last season and missed the playoffs for the eighth straight year, which prompted the team to undergo another rebuild in the offseason.
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They hired Andre Tourigny to lead the rebuild, but he won’t have a lot to work with after the team spent the offseason getting rid of or losing their best players. They lost goalies Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta, and replaced them with Carter Hutton and Josef Korenar, which is a big downgrade at the position.
They also lost Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, three of their best defenders. They brought in Shayne Gostisbehere and they’re also hoping Conor Timmins lives up to his potential now that he will get a lot of playing time.
With the team not making any significant improvement on offense and defense, expect them to struggle again this year.
Blue Jackets Hoping To Make Playoff RunThe Blue Jackets were one of the worst teams in the league last season and they failed to make the playoffs for the first time in five years. They will try to bounce back with a better performance this season and get back into the playoffs.
Columbus addressed some of its biggest issues in the offseason, trading for Adam Boqvist and using their three first-round picks to draft Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger, and Corson Ceulemans, who are expected to have an immediate impact and provide some scoring.
Even though they addressed some of their offensive issues, the Blue Jackets still have a few holes to fill on a defense that gave up 3.29 goals per game and struggled on special teams. If they play better defense this season, expect them to compete for a playoff spot this year.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Coyotes hit the reset button in the offseason and lost three of their best defenders. They also lost both their starting goalie and backup then decided to bring in 35-year-old Carter Hutton, who lost 11 of the 12 starts he got with Buffalo last season, giving up 3.47 goals per game while finishing the year with a .886 save average. Even though the Blue Jackets struggled offensively last season, expect them to score a lot of goals in this game, so go with Columbus to get the win.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Coyotes averaged 2.68 goals per game last season and 2.78 goals per game on the road. They are facing a defense that lost some of their best players, struggled to kill penalties, and a goalie that gave up over three goals per game, so expect them to go over their average in this game. The Blue Jackets averaged 2.39 goals per game and 2.96 goals per game at home. The Coyotes weren’t good defensively last season, giving up 3.11 goals per game and lost three of their best defenders and both of their goalies, so expect them to score enough goals to push the score over the total.