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The Columbus Blue Jackets face the Vegas Golden Knights with both teams heading in opposite directions this season. The Blue Jackets have a 21-40-7 record and with back-to-back losses have the worst record in the Eastern Conference. The Golden Knights have a 42-21-6 record and with seven wins in the last 10 games have the best record in the Pacific Division. The Blue Jackets are looking to climb out of the bottom of the Eastern Conference while the Golden Knights look to secure the best record in the Western Conference and the upcoming game should be a good one.
Blue Jackets defense has let them downThe Blue Jackets are having a season to forget with their offense struggling and scoring only 2.63 goals per game including only five goals in the last two games. Johnny Gaudreau, Boone Jenner, and Patrik Laine have scored 62 goals and 89 assists but the rest of the offense has struggled. Only six active skaters have scored nine goals or more and opponents can eliminate the hapless offense as a result.
The offense has struggled but the defense has let the Blue Jackets down this season, allowing 3.81 goals per game with 11 goals in the last two games. Erik Gudbranson and Andrew Peeke have combined for 3.6 defensive point shares but the rest of the unit has struggled, allowing opponents to find open shots on the net at will. In addition, goaltender Elvis Merzlikins has struggled with a .880 save percentage and a 4.10 goals-against average on 865 shots with -21.5 goals saved above average.
Golden Knights have been carried by great offenseThe Golden Knights are having a great season with their offense stepping up and scoring 3.19 goals per game including 20 goals in the last five games. Chandler Stephenson, Jack Eichel, and Reilly Smith have scored 59 goals and 94 assists to lead the top two lines but the rest of the offense has also stepped up. Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, and Phil Kessel have combined for 46 goals and 74 assists while defensemen Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo have added 17 goals and 61 assists from the point to open up the offense.
The offense has been great but the defense has also stepped up, allowing only 2.78 goals per game. Alec Martinez and Brayden McNabb have combined for 8.0 defensive point shares and 373 blocked shots while Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, and Nicolas Hague have combined for 9.6 defensive point shares to add depth to the unit. In addition, goaltender Jonathan Quick has stepped up with a .904 save percentage and a 2.98 goals-against average on 157 shots.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Golden Knights are having a great season and I see them controlling the upcoming game on both ends of the ice. The Golden Knights, who average 3.19 goals per game, should pile on the goals against a Blue Jackets defense that allows 3.81 goals per game with Jack Eichel, Reilly Smith, and the rest of the forward unit carrying the puck into the offensive zone and creating open shots with effective puck movement. The Golden Knights should limit a Blue Jackets offense that is scoring only 2.63 goals per game with Alec Martinez, Alex Pietrangelo, and the rest of the defensive unit creating turnovers in the defensive zone and limiting shots on the net, allowing goaltender Jonathan Quick to make plenty of big saves. The Golden Knights should win the game and cover the spread in a dominant win on their home ice.
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Full-Game Total Pick
With a high total and the Golden Knights playing great defense, I see this game being a low-scoring one from the opening puck drop. The Blue Jackets should limit the Golden Knights' offense with Erik Gudbranson and Andrew Peeke creating turnovers in the defensive zone and limiting shots on the net, allowing goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to make plenty of big saves. The Golden Knights, who allow only 2.78 goals per game, should eliminate and potentially shut out the Blue Jackets, who have scored only five goals in their last two games, with Alec Martinez, Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, and the rest of the defensive unit forcing turnovers in the neutral zone and defensive zone while goaltender Jonathan Quick blanks shots on the net. The Under should cover in a low-scoring game with both defenses stepping up.
Take the Under on 6.5 goals.