Hosts enjoying unprecedented run of success
Columbus has only made the playoffs twice in its 16-year existence. This season, however, is shaping up to be something special for John Tortorella’s team.
Riding a 10-game winning streak, the Blue Jackets host the vaunted Penguins tonight. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Columbus odds of -115 to emerge victorious. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, enters Nationwide Arena as a -105 underdog.
Thanks in large part to an explosive offense that ranks second in the NHL in goals per contest, the Blue Jackets currently sit third in the Metropolitan Division with a 21-5-4 mark. Netminder Sergei Bobrovsky continues to enjoy a career campaign, too, as he hasn’t dropped a regulation decision since Nov. 23. If there’s any (slight) cause for concern right now, that relates to the injury front. Red-hot forward Cam Atkinson had to sport a walking boot after blocking a shot in Tuesday’s triumph over Los Angeles, and his status for this evening remains unclear.
The Pens (21-7-5) are very pleased with their health situation, especially in reference to Sidney Crosby. With points in 22 of 27 affairs, Pittsburgh’s captain finds himself piloting yet another highly dangerous attack in the Steel City. Once defenseman Kris Letang returns from a lower-body ailment, the production should shift to an even higher gear.
No club is hotter than Columbus. Nonetheless, we completely believe in the Penguins’ ability to handle a marquee matchup. The Blue Jackets still need to prove they’re ready for such a challenge. Give us the reigning Stanley Cup champions here.
THURSDAY NHL FREE PICK: PENGUINS +1.5