Two teams playing the second contest of a back-to-back stretch will meet up in St. Louis, as the in-form Columbus Blue Jackets (4th in Metropolitan Division) will try to extend their current winning run to four outings while visiting the struggling Blues (2nd in Central).
Jackets Win Third In RowThe Columbus Blue Jackets (12-6-0) posted their fifth victory in the last six outings (5-1-0), winning for the third consecutive time following a 4-2 triumph against the Vancouver Canucks at Nationwide Arena last night. Gustav Nyquist (4 goals, 9 points this year) and Adam Boqvist (2 goals, 3 points) scored in the first and the second periods respectively before the ‘Nucks tied the proceedings on each occasion, only for Jack Roslovic (3 goals, 8 points) to break the 2-2 tie at 6:06 of the final third, despite Vancouver outshooting the hosts 41-21 throughout the whole contest. Max Domi (3 goals, 9 points) added an empty-netter for Columbus, which blocked 19 attempts.
Goalie Elvis Merzlikins (9-3-0 on the season with a 2.41 GAA and a .929 save percentage) turned aside 39 shots yesterday, but will let Joonas Korpisalo have a go in the net for tonight. Korpisalo has posted a 3-3-0 total for the ongoing campaign with a 3.63 GAA and a .894 save percentage, and is 2-2-0 against the St. Louis Blues historically with a 3.23 GAA and a .906 save percentage. The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, are scoring the 6th highest number of goals per game this year (3.44), while allowing the 14th highest quantity in their defensive zone (2.94). They are 13th in both power play (19.6%) and penalty kill (83.6%).
Blues Get Edged Out In Chi-TownA second straight defeat (0-1-1) was on the cards for the St. Louis Blues (10-7-3), who followed up Wednesday’s 4-2 setback at the Detroit Red Wings with a 3-2 overtime loss at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center yesterday. Pavel Buchnevich (6 goals, 13 points this year) tallied 59 seconds into the contest before Ivan Barbashev (5 goals, 11 points) scored with the man-advantage to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead in the first period, only for the ‘Hawks to rally with a snipe in each of the following two frames, adding the winner at 1:27 of the extra session. The Blues have now lost seven of their last nine matchups (2-5-2).
Goalie Jordan Binnington made 24 saves last night to go 7-5-3 for the season with a 2.80 GAA and a .913 save percentage. Ville Husso (2-1-0 on the year with a 1.35 GAA and a .952 save percentage), though, is set to guard the cage for St. Louis tonight, despite having never faced the Columbus Blue Jackets previously. The Blues are burying the 10th highest quantity of goals per game this season (3.20), while giving up the 11th lowest amount on the defensive end (2.75). They are sitting 2nd in power play with a 30.4% success rate and are 14th in penalty kill with 83.0% effectiveness.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
As far as current form is concerned, the Blue Jackets are definitely enjoying a much better time than the Blues at the moment. Columbus has won five of its past six outings (5-1-0), presently riding a three-game winning run, while St. Louis has managed to muster just two victories in its most recent nine contests overall (2-5-2). Having said that, the Blues are still unbeaten in their last two domestic contests, having outscored their opponents 9-3 during the said pair of games, while the Jackets have won just one of their past seven fixtures played without a breather. Columbus has also managed to triumph on just six of its previous 27 trips to St. Louis, where the hosts have gone 5-3-1 throughout the whole season thus far.
Full-Game Total Pick
Three of the last four meetings between the Blues and the Blue Jackets have all been high-scoring affairs, averaging no less than eight tallies per encounter. So, expecting another game, rich in goals, is definitely a pretty decent proposition! When playing the second outing of a back-to-back stretch, St. Louis has already cruised past the set goal-mark on four of the most recent five occasions. Columbus, meanwhile, has witnessed markers pile up in nine of its last 11 matchups overall, averaging no less than 7.67 snipes per game.