Minnesota Wild @ Columbus Blue Jackets – Nationwide Arena at 00:00

My latest NHL Handicap Betting focuses on the matchup between two leading NHL sides this campaign. The last meeting between Minnesota and Columbus was a historic one as both teams were on extended steaks – 12 and 14 respectively. Columbus were the victors for the New Year’s Eve duel, however Minnesota have upped the ante and are now 4 points ahead of the Blue Jackets.

Dominance in the State of Hockey

The Minnesota Wild have gained a stranglehold on the Central division. They come into this game in good form as they won eight of their twelve games last month. Additionally, they also lost only 3 games in January to certify their fantastic start to 2017. Can they maintain their good form and make a deep run in the playoffs come April? Only time will tell.

The Wild were active on the trade deadline as they traded future picks to get veterans Ryan White and Martin Hanzal. The latter is the jewel in the deal, nevertheless it will more than likely be a rental deal for the big Czech centre. Hanzal will reinforce Minnesota’s Stanley Cup aspirations and will be a success if they go far.

Redemption seems to be the theme in Minnesota. Head coach Bruce Boudreau and centre Eric Staal were without clubs in the summer. Boudreau was fired by Anaheim after another underwhelming post-season and Staal’s contract was not renewed in NY. Despite the fact that Staal’s point production has cooled off slightly recently, he is still a valuable part of the team with 46 points in 61 games – fourth for The Wild. Mikael Granlund leads Minny in points with 59 in 61 games.

Columbus remain consistent

The Columbus Blue Jackets keep on trucking as they hope to consolidate a top 3 finish in the Metropolitan. Howbeit they can realistically still finish at the summit of the division and head coach John Tortorella will give his players the belief in achieving this target. Like the Wild, Columbus also dabbled in the trade deadline by striking two deals. They traded defenceman Dalton Prout to New Jersey in exchange for veteran Kyle Quincey and prospect Dillon Heaterington to Dallas for Lauri Korpikoski. Both incoming players will give the Blue Jackets a touch of experience come April, they have accumulated over 70 post-season games between them. Columbus have a relatively young roster with an average age of 25 and these two could have a major say in the franchise’s fate.

Cam Atkinson leads Columbus in goals (29) and points (53). Alexander Wennberg is hot on the american’s trails with 52 points – already a career year for the young Swede.

Prediction

Columbus have won four of their last six meetings against Minnesota stretching back two years. As mentioned in the introduction they also won the much-hyped meeting on NYE. Both teams are in good form, but I believe that Minnesota will return the favour and get a win tonight. There is also good value on the market at 2.10.

Handicap Betting Recommendation: Minnesota Wild  -/+ 0 at 2.10 (excluding OT)

Prices correct at time of writing

By @The_Drewse

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