Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#7 Chicago Blackhawks vs.
#8 Columbus Blue Jackets
Monday, April 12, 2021 at 7:05pm EDT
Nationwide Arena, Columbus
Written by Valdis Pans

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Nine defeats in their past 11 contests take the Columbus Blue Jackets (7th in Central Division) to their second straight domestic matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks (5th in Central), who have triumphed in two of their previous three outings.

‘Hawks Edge Out Columbus

The Chicago Blackhawks (19-18-5) won for the second time in their last three contests (2-1-0) after starting a five-game road trek with a 4-3 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday. After the hosts took a 2-0 lead in the first 3:13 of the matchup, the ‘Hawks tallied twice ahead of the first intermission to tie it at 2-2 before finding the back of the net two more times in the following frame, with Columbus only able to respond with a single marker subsequently, getting itself within 4-3 in the last minute of the game. Alex DeBrincat (21 goals, 40 points this year), Carl Soderberg (7 goals, 15 points), Wyatt Kalynuk (1 goal, 2 points) and Dylan Strome (8 goals, 12 points) all scored for Chicago, which won on the road for the first time in six tries (1-5-0).

Goalie Kevin Lankinen stopped 23 shots on Saturday and has now gone 15-11-4 for the ongoing campaign with a 2.78 GAA and a .915 save percentage. He has registered a 4-2-0 past total against the Blue Jackets with a 3.14 GAA and a .900 save percentage. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are netting the 13th lowest quantity of goals per game this season (2.76), while conceding the 10th highest amount on the defensive end (3.10). The team is 6th best in power play with a 24.4% success rate and 2nd from the bottom in penalty kill with 73.3% efficiency.

Jackets Lose Fifth In Six

The Columbus Blue Jackets (15-20-8) started their two-game home set against the Chicago Blackhawks with a defeat, losing for the fifth time in their last six contests (1-5-0) following a 4-3 loss at Nationwide Arena on Saturday. The Jackets were outshot 28-26, killed four of their five penalties and went 0-for-1 with the man-advantage, eventually squandering a 2-0 first-period lead by allowing four straight goals in the first two frames, responding just once subsequently through Patrik Laine (10 goals, 18 points), who lit the lamp for the first time in 15 outings. Michael Del Zotto (4 goals, 10 points) and Cam Atkinson (14 goals, 28 points) also scored for Columbus, which is 2-8-1 in its last 11 fixtures.

Goalie Elvis Merzlikins made 24 saves on Saturday to take his current performance tally to 6-9-2 for the current campaign with a 2.93 GAA and a .911 save percentage. He has picked up a 0-2-2 career record versus Chicago with a 3.41 GAA and a .897 save percentage, while Joonas Korpisalo (9-11-6 on the year with a 3.10 GAA and a .899 save percentage) 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 season (2.49), 6th in most goals conceded on average (3.21), 3rd from the bottom in power play (14.0%) and 20th in penalty kill (78.1%).

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The Blackhawks want to win games and compete for a place in the upcoming playoffs. That was more than evident in their previous contest at the Blue Jackets, when - after trailing 2-0 following the first three minutes of the game - Chicago called a timeout, regrouped, scored the following four snipes and limited their hosts to just one shot on target in 25-and-a-half-minutes of play. The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, are plodding along. They have won just two of their last 11 contests, have dropped their most recent four outings against teams with a losing record, while the authoritative methods of coaching by John Tortorella have seen such talents as Patrik Laine score just one goal in 15 games. With 20 triumphs on their past 27 trips to Ohio and mental toughness firmly on their side, the Blackhawks look to be set for another positive outing at Nationwide Arena.

Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks (-115)

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This series has not brought in too many goals this season, with only three of seven meetings between Columbus and Chicago witnessing more than five strikes on the scoreboard. Still, four of the previous five overall matchups of the Blackhawks have all been high-scoring bouts, averaging no less than 6.50 tallies per fixture, while the most recent four domestic contests of the Blue Jackets have all cruised past the set goal-mark, recording an average of 7.50 snipes per encounter. So, do bank on this one to deliver quite a few strikes once again!

Prediction: Over 5.5
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Written By Valdis Pans , "Valdis Pans"

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