Blue Jackets vs. Red Wings Preview

columbus blue jackets vs detroit red wings nhl odds nhl preview

DETROIT, MI - Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel felt like his team skated right with Detroit in the opener of this home-and-home set, but the Red Wings proved to be too much.

That has regularly been the case when these teams meet.

Trying to open a four-point lead over the Blue Jackets atop the Central Division, the Red Wings look to sweep this weekend set and beat Columbus for the eighth time in nine tries Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.

Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Red Wings -170 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Blue Jackets. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 95% of more than 542 bets for this game have been placed on the Red Wings -170.

These teams entered Friday's game in Columbus tied for the most points in the Western Conference with 28, and Detroit emerged with a 2-1 victory.

The Red Wings (14-4-2) struck first with Johan Franzen's goal at 7:04 of the second period, his team-leading 10th of the season, and goaltender Jimmy Howard kept the lead intact by stopping Jared Boll on a penalty shot three minutes later. Valtteri Filppula put Detroit up 2-0 with a power-play goal at 8:06 in the third, and Blue Jackets center Antoine Vermette scored a minute later to spoil Howard's shutout bid.

Columbus had its winning streak snapped at five, one short of tying the franchise record.

"I thought we played a heck of a hockey game," Arniel said. "We got their A-game and I just thought we went stride for stride and toe-to-toe (against them)."

The Blue Jackets (14-7-0) have had many close calls with the Red Wings lately, but have rarely been on the winning end. The last six meetings have each been decided by one goal, with Columbus winning once.

The Red Wings have dominated this series since the Blue Jackets' inaugural season in 2000-01, going 42-10-5 with one tie, not including a first-round sweep in the 2009 playoffs. Detroit has earned 15 of a possible 16 points in the past eight meetings and has won seven of the last eight at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings have been very strong at home this season, going 9-1-2, but Columbus is a league-best 8-1-0 on the road.

Howard has been instrumental to the Red Wings' success in this series. He stopped 34 shots Friday, improving to 6-0-1 with a 1.31 goals-against average and one shutout all-time against the Blue Jackets.

Steve Mason was nearly as good as Howard on Friday, finishing with 30 saves for Columbus, which hasn't lost back-to-back games all season.

"I thought Howard was good, I thought Mason was good," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Both goaltenders were good. Howard had to be. I mean we were shorthanded so often it wasn't even funny."

The Red Wings killed all five of Columbus' power-play chances Friday, and the Blue Jackets have just one goal in 25 opportunities with the man advantage in their last eight games versus Detroit.

Columbus is having similar problems with its power play this season, going 3 for 37 in its last 10 games.

"It's been a work in progress all year," Arniel said.

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