It’s an inter-conference matchup on the ice in the Buckeye State. The Chicago Blackhawks are on the road as they make the trip to face the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night. Chicago was dumped 4-1 at home by Arizona in their last contest Thursday night. Columbus won for the third time in four games as they doubled up Philadelphia 6-3 at home Thursday night. The teams split two meetings last season with the home team prevailing in both contests. Columbus claimed a 3-2 win in the last matchup, which was here back on February 24.
Chicago Blackhawks Try to Earn Road Victory
Chicago had their first non-overtime game of the season on Thursday night but couldn’t come up with enough offense. The Blackhawks set a NHL record with five straight overtime contests to start the year: apparently they had forgotten that a game could end after 60 minutes. Chicago comes into this contest fifth in the league with 3.8 goals per game but rank a miserable 29th in goals against as they allow 4.2 per night. The Blackhawks are 26th in the league on the power play by cashing in on just 10 percent of their chances with the man advantage. Chicago has struggled mightily on the penalty kill as they are second-worst in the league as they have killed off only 64.7 percent of their shorthanded situations. The Blackhawks are 3-3 against the puck line while seeing the over go 5-1 in their contests this year.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 19, 2018
The Blackhawks battled but couldn’t come up a winner in Corey Crawford’s first start in net since December 23, 2017 as he battled concussion symptoms that lingered. Chicago outshot Arizona 13-12 in the first period of the contest but found itself down 1-0 after 20 minutes. In the second period, the Blackhawks were outshot 10-9: both teams scored once, leaving the Blackhawks in a 2-1 hole after 40 minutes. Erik Gustafsson tied the game at one with his first of the year at 6:34 of the period with Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat assisting on the goal. That was it for the Blackhawks, who gave up the eventual game winning goal just over two minutes later. In the third period, Chicago had a 12-9 edge in shots but gave up two goals, one into an empty net, to close the scoring. Crawford stopped 27 of 30 shots in his season debut for Chicago, who outshot Arizona 34-31 in the game.
Columbus Blue Jackets Look to Pick Up Second Straight Win
Columbus had an offensive outburst as they dumped Philadelphia at home Thursday night and upped their record to 4-2-0 on the season. The Blue Jackets have won three of four coming into this contest and looking to move up in the Metropolitan Division. Columbus comes into this game 9th in the league in goals for with an average of 3.7 per contest. The Blue Jackets have struggled defensively this season as they come in 25th in the league by allowing 3.7 goals per game on the year. Columbus is 22nd in the league on the power play by converting 16 percent of their chances with the man advantage while they struggle on the penalty kill. The Blue Jackets are only 29th in the league by killing off only 68.4 percent of their shorthanded situations. Columbus is 3-3 against the puck line while the over is 4-2 in their games this season.
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) October 19, 2018
The Blue Jackets started sluggishly but still came up with the victory as they got better as the game progressed against the Flyers. Columbus was outshot 15-12 after one period and trailed 2-1 after 20 minutes of play. Anthony Duclair’s second goal of the season at the 17:10 mark of the first period tied the game at one. Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara assisted on the goal but they fell behind again only 1:17 later. The second period saw Columbus outshot 12-10 but they scored three goals while not giving up one to take a 4-2 edge after 40 minutes. Cam Atkinson tied the game with his third of the season at 1:34 of the period off an assist from Artemi Panarin. Just over three minutes later, Atkinson scored his second of the game and fourth of the year at 4:42 to make it 3-2 Columbus. Panarin drew the assist on that goal as well. Later in the period, Nick Foligno scored his third of the year at 8:34 to make it a 4-2 lead for Columbus. David Savard and Zach Werenski drew the assists on that goal. In the third period, Columbus was outshot 8-6 but outscored the Flyers 2-1 to salt the game away. After the Flyers cut the deficit to 4-3, Josh Anderson netted his fourth of the year unassisted at 15:17 to restore a two goal edge. Sonny Milano potted his first of the year at 17:48 off an assist from Oliver Bjorkstrand to close the scoring. Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves in the win for Columbus, who was outshot 35-28 in the game.
- Blue Jackets are 9-4 in their last 13 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game
- Blackhawks are 5-14 in their last 19 road games
- Blackhawks are 1-4 in their last 5 games following a home loss of 3 or more goals
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Chicago has been involved in five overtime games in their six contests this season but they’ve been awful in their own end of the ice. Columbus has won three of four and they are gaining momentum as Bobrovsky looked more like what you would expect from him by kicking out 32 shots against Philadelphia. The Blue Jackets are putting goals on the board and that ability to generate offensive pressure while returning to form defensively makes them a tough team to face. Columbus gets the upper hand here as Chicago’s defense continues to be leaky.
Prediction: Columbus Blue Jackets -160
Full-Game Total Pick
We’ve seen a lot of the red light when these two teams take the ice this season and that’s something that has to be a concern in some regard for both coaches. Joel Quenneville isn’t used to seeing his team near the bottom of the league in goals against but that’s where they sit at this point in time. Columbus can’t put up lousy numbers in their own end like they have been. Both teams have been awful on the penalty kill this year, which makes one wonder if either team will ease off the aggressiveness factor in order to avoid going to the box in this one.
The over is 5-1 in Chicago’s last six overall, 6-2-1 in their last nine on one day of rest, 5-2-1 in their last eight against an opponent who scored at least five goals in their last game and 5-2 in their last seven on Saturday. Columbus has seen the over go 4-0 in their last four on one day of rest, 4-0 in their last four on Saturday, 5-0 in their last five against the Western Conference and 8-1 in their last nine against a team that scored two goals or less in their last game. The over is 24-9 in the last 33 meetings here: with the defensive issues both teams have had this season, this one has the makings of a shootout. The over is the way to go here.
Prediction: Over 6
Half-Time Side Pick
Columbus has been lighting the lamp with regularity of late and they have three wins in their last four games. Chicago has been dreadful defensively this season as they continue to give up goals by the truckload in the early going. Perhaps when Crawford gets back to form, he can help the Blackhawks out in that department. As it stands right now, it’s an uphill climb for Chicago to get and maintain a lead in regulation. Columbus takes advantage of the Chicago struggles in their own zone and lead after 20 minutes.
Prediction: Columbus Blue Jackets -143
Half-Time Total Bet
These two teams are high scoring units with suspect defenses. While Bobrovsky turned in a solid enough outing his last time out against the Flyers, stopping 32 of 35 shots, the fact remains that he needs to work on not giving up big rebounds. Chicago has seen a lot of goals on both ends of the ice and that makes for a wild, up and down kind of game that fans love and coaches loathe. Crawford was solid enough in his season debut but didn’t get any support offensively. There’s at least two goals in the opening period, pushing this one over the number after one.
Prediction: 1st Period: Over 1.5 (-115)