Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#51 Columbus Blue Jackets 5.5 vs.
#52 Philadelphia Flyers -155
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 7:05pm EST
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s a battle of teams from the Metropolitan Division in the City of Brotherly Love on the ice. The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the road as they travel to face the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night. Columbus was upended 4-3 in a shootout on the road by New Jersey Sunday night in their last contest. Philadelphia was dumped 5-3 on the road by Tampa Bay Saturday night in their previous game. The Flyers took both meetings between the teams this season, including a 3-2 road win in the most recent matchup on November 27, 2019.

Columbus Blue Jackets Looking to Get Back on Track

Columbus had a blistering stretch where they went 19-2-3 but they come into this one winless in their last five (0-2-3) after a shootout loss to New Jersey. The Blue Jackets entered Monday’s action tied for third in the Metropolitan Division with the Islanders for the final guaranteed playoff spot. They stood seven points behind Washington for the top spot. In the wild card race, the team held the first wild card position and stood two points clear of Carolina, the first team out of the playoff picture. Columbus is struggling to light the lamp as they average 2.58 goals per game this season. The Blue Jackets are extremely stingy in their own end as they allow 2.45 goals per contest this year. Columbus is struggling on the power play as they convert 16.1 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Blue Jackets have been decent in shorthanded situations as they get through 83 percent of those situations this year.

Against the Devils, the Blue Jackets suffered bad luck as they fired a ton of rubber on net but were stoned time and time again by the Devils’ Mackenzie Blackwood. Columbus held a 12-6 edge in shots in the opening period and took a 2-0 lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes of action. Andrew Peeke opened the scoring with his first of the year at 2:28 off assists from Sonny Milano and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Later in the stanza, Zach Werenski scored his 18th of the year at 6:19 off assists from Eric Robinson and Marcus Nutivaara to double the Blue Jackets’ advantage. In the second period, the Blue Jackets held a 20-15 edge in shots but they were outscored 3-0 to trail 3-2 after 40 minutes of action. The final period saw Columbus with a 21-2 edge in shots and they scored the lone goal to tie the game and force overtime. Kevin Stenlund scored his fifth of the year at 8:45 off assists from Oliver Bjorkstrand and Gustav Nyquist to send the game to overtime. In the extra session, the Blue Jackets were outshot 3-2 with neither team scoring to force a shootout. During the shootout, Dubois scored but it was a goal by Jesper Bratt in the seventh round that sent the Blue Jackets to the OT loss. Elvis Merzlikins made 23 saves for Columbus, who owned a 55-26 edge in shots on goal, in the loss.

Philadelphia Flyers Look to Climb Playoff Ladder

Philadelphia was dumped on the road by Tampa Bay in their last game and has split their last six contests coming into this one. The Flyers entered Monday’s action fifth in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the Blue Jackets and Islanders, who are tied for the final guaranteed playoff spot. The team stood eight points back of division-leading Washington. In the wild card race, the Flyers held a one-point edge over Carolina for the second wild card spot. Philadelphia is a decent offensive team as they average 3.19 goals per game this season. The Flyers are above average in their own zone as they enter this game allowing 2.92 goals per contest. Philadelphia is in the middle of the pack in success with the man advantage by converting 19.7 percent of their power play chances this season. The Flyers are an average team in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 82 percent of their shorthanded situations this season.

Against Tampa Bay, Philadelphia was unable to slow the Lightning’s offensive charge and ended up a couple goals short at the end. In the opening period, the Flyers were outshot 11-8 and trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes of action. The second period saw Philadelphia with a 10-6 edge in shots with each team scoring once to trail 3-1 after 40 minutes of action. After falling behind 3-0, Ivan Provorov got the Flyers on the board with his 11th of the year, on the power play, at 8:57 off assists from Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. The final period saw the Flyers with a 15-7 edge in shots but both teams scored twice to leave the two-goal margin intact as time expired. Philadelphia gave up the first goal of the period to trail 4-1 before getting their offense going. James van Riemsdyk made it 4-2 with his 18th of the year, on the power play, at 15:31, off assists from Matt Niskanen and Travis Sanheim. Just 44 seconds later, Giroux scored his 16th of the season off assists from Provorov and Travis Konecny at the 16:15 mark to draw within two. That was as close as the Flyers would get as the Lightning hit the empty net to seal the result. Carter Hart made 19 saves for Philadelphia, who held a 33-24 edge in shots on goal, in the loss.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Columbus is reeling at the moment as they are 0-2-3 in their last five games. They now have a home and home set with the Flyers in two games that could really shuffle around the playoff picture, at least in the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia has played well at home this season and Hart has been stellar at the Wells Fargo Center this season. He’s turned in a 14-2-2 mark with a 1.65 GAA and a .941 save percentage at home compared to a 3-10-1 mark with a 3.88 GAA and a .855 save percentage on the road. This one is at home and that works in Philadelphia’s favor. Give the Flyers the upper hand here as the Blue Jackets see their winless stretch reach six.

Prediction: Philadelphia Flyers -145

Full-Game Total Pick

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Columbus comes into this game with a 12-7-9 road record on the season. The Blue Jackets have been outscored by seven (80-73) despite holding a +29 shot differential (917-888) this season in those outings. That creates an average of 5.46 goals per game when Columbus is the visiting team this season. Philadelphia comes into the game with a stellar 19-5-4 home record on the year. The Flyers have dominated the opposition, outscoring their opponents by 39 (98-59) while holding a +141 shot differential (938-797) in those games this season. That gives Philadelphia an average of 5.61 goals per game at the Wells Fargo Center on the year. This one is going to be a tough contest and ends up falling short of the number.

Prediction: Under 5.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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Columbus comes into this game having held the lead seven times in their 28 road games this season after the opening period. The Blue Jackets have been tied after 20 minutes 13 times as the visiting team and have trailed in eight games this season. Philadelphia has held the upper hand on home ice after the opening period nine times this season. The Flyers have been even 13 times and trailed after 20 minutes just six times this year. Give Philadelphia the upper hand here as they continue their home ice dominance.

Prediction: 1st Period Philadelphia Flyers

Half-Time Total Bet

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Columbus has hung tough early on in road games this season. The Blue Jackets have an even goal differential (20-20) despite holding a +36 shot differential (312-276) in the first period on the road this year. That creates an average of 1.43 goals per game in the first period of the Blue Jackets' road games on the year. Philadelphia owns a +7 goal differential (24-17) despite being outshot by eight (290-282) in the opening period on home ice. The Flyers see an average of 1.46 goals per game this season after one period on home ice. This one is going to be a physical, low-scoring affair that is under the total after 20 minutes of play.

Prediction: 1st Period Under
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.