Two teams, both currently struggling for victories, will face off against each other in Ohio, as the local Columbus Blue Jackets (7th in Central Division) will play host to the Chicago Blackhawks (5th in Central).
‘Hawks Lose Third In FourThe Chicago Blackhawks (18-18-5) were beaten for the third time in their past four contests (1-3-0) after splitting their two-game home set against the Dallas Stars, following up Tuesday’s 4-2 victory with a 5-1 defeat at United Center on Thursday. The ‘Hawks outshot the visitors 39-34, but went just 1-for-3 on penalty kill and failed to convert on all three of their power-play chances, eventually allowing three goals in the second period and one more in the third after tying the game at 1-1 in the opening frame. Dominik Kubalik (14 goals, 29 points this year) scored the only snipe for Chicago, which has won just two of its past seven outings (2-5-0).
Goalie Kevin Lankinen made 29 saves on Thursday to take his current performance status to 14-11-4 for the season with a 2.77 GAA and a .916 save percentage. He has registered a 3-2-0 past total against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 3.16 GAA and a .902 save percentage. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are netting the 14th lowest quantity of goals per game during the current campaign (2.73), while allowing the 10th highest amount on the defensive end (3.10). The team is 6th best in power play with a 24.6% success rate and 2nd from the bottom in penalty kill with 73.0% efficiency.
Jackets Drop Fourth In FiveA fourth defeat in the last five fixtures (1-4-0) was on the card for the Columbus Blue Jackets (15-19-8), who split their two-game home stretch against the Tampa Bay Lightning after following up Tuesday’s 4-2 win with a 6-4 setback at Nationwide Arena on Thursday. The Jackets outshot the visitors 36-30, but failed to convert on both opportunities with the man-advantage and went 3-for-4 on penalty kill, ultimately scoring a goal in each of the first two periods, adding two more in the final third while allowing four in the opening frame and two in the second. Jack Roslovic (8 goals, 27 points this year) collected a strike and two assists for Columbus, which is 2-7-1 in its past 10 contests.
Goalie Joonas Korpisalo (9-11-6 on the season with a 3.10 GAA and a .899 save percentage) conceded three goals on six shots in the first 5:41 of the game before being pulled for Elvis Merzlikins (6-8-2 on the year with a 2.86 GAA and a .914 save percentage), who made 21 saves subsequently. Merzlikins is 0-1-2 versus Chicago in previous encounters with a 3.08 GAA and a .913 save percentage, while Korpisalo has gone 2-2-2 against the Blackhawks historically with a 3.07 GAA and a .894 save percentage. The Blue Jackets are 4th in least goals scored per game this year (2.48), 7th in most goals given up on average (3.19), 3rd from the bottom in power play (14.1%) and 21st in penalty kill (78.0%).
Chicago (according to Covers.com)
- Blackhawks are 5-1 in their last 6 games following a home loss of 3 or more goals.
- Blackhawks are 19-7 in their last 26 meetings with Blue Jackets in Columbus.
Columbus (according to Covers.com)
- Blue Jackets are 1-4 in their last 5 home games.
- Blue Jackets are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. a team with a losing record.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams have been struggling lately. Still, out of the two, the Blackhawks definitely have a better chance of making the postseason this year, currently trailing 4th-placed Nashville Predators just by four points. The ‘Hawks have not been doing too well on the road of late, dropping their very last five travels, but have been bossing the Blue Jackets around in Ohio for years, banking 19 victories on their last 26 trips to Columbus, winning the most recent four. The Jackets have been atrocious on own ice this season (8-13), managing to collect just a single domestic triumph on the past five tries, and have already picked up four losses in their previous five outings against teams with a losing record. With their morale at a low throughout the whole current campaign and their sights set nowhere near the playoffs, expect the Jackets to endure another disappointing game.
Full-Game Total Pick
Only two of six meetings between Columbus and Chicago have gone past the set goal-mark during their ongoing eight-game season series. Still, do bet on this one to witness at least six markers on the scoreboard! When playing following a domestic defeat by a margin of at least three snipes, the Blackhawks have already gone over the total on five of the past seven occasions. Six of the most recent eight home contests of the Blue Jackets, meanwhile, have all been high-scoring affairs, recording an average of 7.50 goals per encounter.