Blackhawks at Blue Jackets Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 3/14/2013
One of these teams seems to have forgotten how to lose a game in regulation time, while the other is really struggling to beat lousy teams. It is not at all surprising that that is the storyline heading into this game. It’s just shocking which team occupies each role. After going 24 straight games without a regulation loss, the Blackhawks have lost two in a row to Western Conference also-rans Colorado and Edmonton. Columbus, meanwhile, just had five-game winning streak snapped with a bizarre shootout loss last time out in Vancouver, but they have earned at least a point in their last eight games. The start to the season for the Blue Jackets was so bad that they are still two games below .500 despite the success, but this is still the best eight-game stretch the team has played in years.
Blackhawks at Blue Jackets Betting storylines
Betting on the Blue Jackets to win by multiple goals just isn’t a good idea right now. They beat the Red Wings 3-0 at home on March 9. That was the only game in the last eight which hasn’t gone to overtime. Three of their last five games have extended into a shootout. This tendency towards close games is a clear sign that this team is getting it done not through skill or dominance, but through focus, determination and teamwork. Impressive story. Tough to trust, though. The Blackhawks have played 10 overtime games in 26 outings this year, so they aren’t exactly overwhelming most of the time, either.
When the Blue Jackets finally faced reality and traded Rick Nash in the offseason they were criticized for not getting a fair return from the Rangers. One of the key pieces they did get, though, was center Brandon Dubinsky. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the lineup for 11 games, including all five wins during the streak. He returned last time out against Vancouver. After looking rusty over the first two periods he was excellent in the third — persistent, shifty and tough to defend. He’ll be in even better form here than he was last time out, and he is a big asset for the Blue Jackets as they seek to extend their streak.
The Blackhawks are currently suffering through a major injury of their own. Patrick Sharp hit the boards hard on March 6, and he suffered a shoulder injury that should keep him out of the lineup for 3-4 weeks. He was playing his typically solid, balanced hockey, and his absence will be felt by the team. Perhaps it is a coincidence, but the team has lost both games that he has missed so far. He’s definitely one of those players who has an impact that far exceeds what shows up on the scoresheet.
When the Blackhawks lost their second game — to Edmonton — it was clear that they were flustered. They had ended a truly epic streak, and they didn’t know how to deal with it. They weren’t focused, and they were uncharacteristically undisciplined in their own zone early on. It was an ugly performance — they allowed six goals against a team coming off of two straight shutout losses. The good news for the Blackhawks, though, is that the schedule is their friend right now. They had played four games in six nights culminating in the Edmonton game and were clearly feeling it. They have had three nights off heading into this one, though, and the trip to Columbus is short and easy. That means the team has had a chance to relax, refocus, adjust to the loss of Sharp and get ready to return to the form that carried them so far at the start of the season.
Blackhawks at Blue Jackets NHL Odds and Betting Trends
The Blackhawks are 13-3 in their last 16 games in Columbus, and 21-7 in their last 28 meetings overall. The recent dominance is even more striking — the Blackhawks have won the last 11 meetings. two of the last 27 meetings in Columbus have gone “over” the total.
Blackhawks at Blue Jackets Picks and Betting Predictions
I’m impressed by what the Blue Jackets have done recently and would love to pick them to carry it on, but I just can’t. The team is playing well over their head, and it can’t last. The Blackhawks are a far superior team, and they will be fresh and focused after their time off. They are very comfortable playing in Columbus. The price isn’t great, but the Blackhawks are the right pick.
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