National Hockey League action on Thursday evening and we will see a pair of teams from the Central Division square off as the Tampa Bay Lightning grapple with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The Blue Jackets took game one of this set by a score of 4-2. They now lead the season series 3-2.
Tamnpa Bay Is StrugglingThe Tampa Bay Lightning have been one of the best teams in the league all year, but they have been sputtering a bit of late. After falling to the Red Wings as massive favorites at home, the Bolts followed that up with a 4-2 loss to the Blue Jackets in game one of this set. Tampa has now gone just 2-5 in their last seven games, and surprisingly, it has been their offense that has let them down. The Tampa offense has not had many issues this year, but they come in having averaged just 2.13 gpg over their last eight games. Those are not numbers that the Bolts are used to producing.
Scoring in the game-one loss was Ross Colton, which was his 5th of the year, and Luke Schenn, which was his 1st of the year. Both goals came in the final 5:23 of the game when it was already pretty much decided. Absorbing the loss was Andrei Vasilevskiy, who allowed three goals on 29 shot attempts to fall to 23-7 with a 2.00 GAA on the year, including 10-7 with a 2.40 GA on the road. In his career, he has gone 76-57 with a 2.48 GAA on the road and 8-4 with a 2.08 GAA against the Blue Jackets. Tampa has slipped to 3rd in the division, but they are still just two points out of first.
Team Stats & Rankings: The Bolts this contest ranked 2nd in scoring at 3.36 gpg, 9th in shots per game at 30.5, and 4th in power-play conversions at 25.4%. At the defensive end of the ice, they are ranked 5th in goals allowed at 2.46, 6th in shots per game allowed at 28.0, and 10th in penalty kill at 81.7%.
Jackets Shock The Bolts In Game OneThe Columbus Blue Jackets have had a rough season as they enter this contest at just 15-26 on the year. They had been struggling even more of late as they came into this set having lost seven of their previous eight games. The Jackets were able to shake off those struggles enough to shock the Lightning by a score of 4-2 in game one of this set. Columbus was underdogs of +189 in the contest.Scoring in the win was Zac Dalpe, which was his first of the year, Jack Roslovic, which was his 7th, Max Domi, which was his 6th, and Nick Foligno, which was his 7th. Columbus did lose Boone Jenner in the contest to a wrist injury. He has scored eight goals for the year and will now be out until late May.
"I think for us, it's about getting back on the right track ... last night we got it done." - Nick pic.twitter.com/CYWvU4Jc2P— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 7, 2021
Despite scoring four goals in the contest, the offense has been their biggest issue of the year, and that is a bit surprising since they brought in Patrik Laine to boost the scoring. He has just seven goals since joining the team at the beginning of February. Laine had averaged 34.5 goals per year in his first four seasons in the league, which were all with the Jets. Columbus has now averaged just 1.83 gpg over their last 12 games. Snatching up the win was Joonas Korpisalo, who stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced to improve to 9-17 with a 2.99 GAA on the year, including 4-10 with a 3-00 GAA here at home. He has gone 38-36 with a 2.73 GAA in his home games and 2-5 with a 3.21 GAA against the Bolts in his career.
Team Stats & Rankings: Columbus enters this contest ranked 28th in scoring at 2.44 gpg, 26th in shots per game at 29.0, and 27th in power-play conversions at 14.4%. At the defensive end of the ice, they are ranked 24th in goals allowed at 3.12, 26th in shots per game allowed at 31.9, and 19th in penalty kill at 78.1%.
Tampa Bay is:
- 52-12 in their last 64 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- 50-16 in their last 66 games playing on 1 days rest
- 102-45 in their last 147 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Trends Are Courtesy Of Covers.com Columbus is:
- 5-12 in their last 17 in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 situation
- 5-17 in their last 22 games following a win
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Blue Jackets have played well against the Bolts this year, winning three of the five games so far. Still, they are not good off a win, as you can see from the trend above and they have gone just 3-8 in their last 11 games at home. Tampa Bay has been struggling of late overall but they are still the superior team in this one and the Bolts have gone 21-10 in their last 31 games on the road. I will look for the Tampa offense to get back on track here against Korpisalo, who still has gone 2-5 with a 3.21 GAA against them in his career. Look for the Bolts to bounce back with an easy win in this one.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Tampa Bay offense has got to get going again at some point. They will notch some goals in this one but I do not see the Tampa offense going crazy. The Bolts have averaged just 2,13 gpg over their last eight games. The Jackets have had even bigger problems on offense, especially of late as they have averaged just 1.83 gpg over their last 12 games, plus they lost Bone Jenner for about a month and a half. The offense will have all sorts of problems scoring in this one, especially since Vasilevskiy has a solid 2.08 GAA against them in his career. Lastly, the Under is 30-13-3 in the last 46 games between these teams, and that seals the deal for me.