Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets Preview

detroit red wings vs columbus blue jackets nhl odds nhl preview

It's not surprising that the Detroit Red Wings are on top of the Western Conference. What is surprising is that the Columbus Blue Jackets are right there with them.

The Central Division rivals meet twice in the next three days, beginning with Friday night's matchup at Nationwide Arena.

Detroit (13-4-2) has 28 points from 19 games while Columbus (14-6-0) has the same total from 20. The Red Wings have won four Stanley Cups during a run of 19 straight postseason appearances while the Blue Jackets' lone playoff appearance in their 10 seasons ended in 2009 with a sweep at the hands of Detroit.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Red Wings –104 money line favorites for Friday's game against the Blue Jackets. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 77% of more than 63 bets for this game have been placed on the Blue Jackets -104.

Trends say that the Blue Jackets are 15-34 over the last two seasons when playing a team with a winning record

The Blue Jackets won their fifth straight Wednesday with a 4-3 overtime victory over the New York Islanders while the Red Wings fell 5-1 at Atlanta that same night to leave the teams tied. These clubs also meet Sunday in Detroit.

"Afterward we saw the results in Atlanta and I said to the team that's why it's important to gain points," Columbus coach Scott Arniel said. "Tonight if we had walked in there not winning that hockey game and checking that result out, knowing we would have had a chance to be evened up going into Friday, we would probably have been (ticked) off at ourselves."

Columbus will try for its first regulation win over Jimmy Howard, who is 5-0-1 with a 1.31 goals-against average in six starts against the Blue Jackets. Howard was pulled after stopping 26 of 30 shots through two periods Wednesday.

Howard fell to 24-2-4 with a 2.25 GAA over his last 30 regular-season starts, although coach Mike Babcock did not blame his goalie.

"This has been coming," Babcock said. "Our work ethic was not good. I don't think anyone expected us to win 82 games, but we were not ready. When you give up 19 shots in the second period, you're in trouble."

Todd Bertuzzi scored the lone goal for the Red Wings, who totaled 24 in their previous five games.

Columbus winger Jakub Voracek scored the winner Wednesday. He's got a point in every game of this win streak.

Captain Rick Nash had his nine-game point streak and six-game goal streak snapped. Nash scored nine goals during his six-game run.

"The most important thing was we got the two points," Nash said. "Tonight was a bit of a tough one."

Nash has been held without a point in his last four games against the Red Wings, who went 5-0-1 in the season series in 2009-10 as Bertuzzi and Tomas Holmstrom combined for five goals. Detroit won the first meeting 9-1 before the next five were decided by one goal.

Columbus is likely to start Steve Mason for this game after a 27-save shutout in a 2-0 win over Nashville on Monday. Mason is 4-5-1 with a 2.72 GAA in 10 regular-season starts versus the Red Wings.

The Blue Jackets last won six straight March 24-April 3, 2006.

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