Tampa Bay Lightning @ Columbus Blue Jackets – Nationwide Arena at 00:00
Tampa Bay and Columbus lock horns once again in the NHL after playing each other 4 days ago. The Blue Jackets beat the Lightning 5-3, will there be a similar outcome?
The Lightning will be looking for vengeance in this upcoming encounter. Tampa Bay loss their subsequent game 4-1 to the Boston Bruins, a night that goalie Ben Bishop will want to forget in a hurry. He conceded 4 goals from 30 shots and had a .867 save percentage. Bishop is having a sub-par season thus far in comparison to his previous campaigns that has led to him to being a 2x Vezina finalist. His contract is also up, come the end of the season and with the emergence of Andrei Vasilevsky, it is looking more likely that he’ll be traded before the deadline.
Prior to their defeats to Columbus and Boston respectively. The Lightning were in very good form winning four straight. With a 13-9-1 record Tampa are currently 3rd in their division. The Lightning have arguably the best roster in the league and have been tipped to win the Stanley Cup this year after a succession of near misses. The Bolts also have the best negotiator in the league in GM Steve Yzerman. The former Red Wings captain sowed up deals for Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov last summer. The latter’s deal took a while and nearly went into arbitration. However the two parties agreed to a 3-year contract worth $4.766 million per season. The Russian has returned the favour for the Bolts and leads the franchise in points with 26 (11G 15A) in 22.
Columbus Marching On
The surprise package of the campaign so far are the Columbus Blue Jackets. This time last year, the franchise were down and out after a succession of defeats left their campaign in the lurch. Head coach John Tortorella has been at the helm for just over a year. The enigmatic American has been looking for redemption after USA’s embarrassing World Cup display. The Jackets have lost only 5 times in regulation, with Tortorella adding the resilience and grittiness that has made his previous teams hard to beat.
Defenseman Zach Werenski is having an impressive rookie season. The University of Michigan alumni has 16 points (5G 11A) in 20 games. It’s been quite a year for Werenski, the 19-year old has won many accolades in the past 12 months; NCAA defensive player of the year, WJC Best defenseman and the Calder Cup with Columbus’ affiliate the Lake Erie Monsters. As mentioned in a previous preview on the Jackets, Tortorella has 3 defensive superstars in the making at his disposal. Werenski, Seth Jones and Ryan Murray can be the cornerstone for this unfancied franchise.
As stated earlier, Columbus were the victors in this clash 4 days ago. The value on the Blue Jackets seems very proposing and could get me some nice profit. Like their last game, I’m expecting goals on display
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Columbus -0.5 at 2.44 (excluding OT) and Over 2 goals after 2 periods at 2.35
Prices correct at time of writing
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