Blue Jackets vs. Penguins Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, the Penguins are a -155 favorite to win on the spread line. The over-under is set at 5.5 goals.
Columbus enters with a 21-13-0-1 record after a 4-2 home win Wednesday night over the Maple Leafs. Pittsburgh is 17-15-2-1 following a 4-2 loss Monday night at the Avalanche. The Penguins went 5-4 in nine meetings last year, winning the postseason series 4-2. The over went 5-4.
The Blue Jackets were paced by Seth Jones as he notched a goal and an assist in the victory over Toronto. Pierre-Luc Dubois, Lukas Sedlak and Alexander Wennberg scored one goal apiece. Cam Atkinson dished out two assists. Joonis Korpisalo recorded 39 saves on 41 shots to post the victory. Columbus fell behind 4-1 with 12 minutes left and was unable to recover.
Chad Ruhwedel led Pittsburgh with a goal and an assist in the loss at Colorado. Evgeni Malkin also accounted for a goal. Matt Murray made 33 saves on 36 shots to take the loss. Malkin trimmed the deficit to 3-2 early in the third period, but an empty netter with 1:33 remaining sealed it.
The home team is 8-1 in the last nine meetings. The Blue Jackets are 5-16 in their last 21 meetings in Pittsburgh.
Columbus playing for a second night in a row really impacts its chances, although No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (2.44 GAA, .919 save pct.) will almost certainly be back between the pipes. If Bobrovsky stands on his head, Columbus will have a shot. Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets and anyone who might bet on them, that is unlikely to happen with all the firepower Pittsburgh possesses. Expect Malkin and/or Sidney Crosby to light the lamp once or twice. I'll take the hosts as a decently sized favorite.
NHL DAILY PREDICTION: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS -155