Blue Jackets at Predators Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 4/4/2013
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators have virtually identical records. Nashville has 38 points, thanks to 15 wins, 14 losses and eight overtime losses. Columbus has played one fewer game and has one less point thanks to one less overtime loss. Right now 38 points is enough for the final playoff spot in the West, though St. Louis currently has played three fewer points than Nashville, so they have the edge.
The point is, though, that these two teams are deep in the playoff hunt. At the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday afternoon, though, the Blue Jackets showed that they are serious about making one of the more unlikely postseason runs in likely memory, while Nashville took a more pessimistic view.
Columbus went all in by acquiring Marion Gaborik from the Rangers. He’s an elite offensive talent, but he has clashed badly with the coaching staff in New York this year and has been horrible as a result. The price for him was reasonable, and if he rediscovers his offensive touch — he had 41 goals last year — the gamble could pay off handsomely. Columbus sits 29th in goals scored per game, and Vinny Prospal leads the team with just 21 points, so they need all the help they can get. It’s a great deal because of the upside and because it brings swagger to a team that has been short of it for too long. Add in a deal that shuffled goalies, and the team was active and effective.
The Predators, meanwhile, had a great day as well, but for the long term at the expense of the short term. They absolutely robbed the Capitals by acquiring elite offensive prospect Filip Forsberg — the 11th pick in the draft last year — for just moderate prospect Michael Latta and veteran Martin Erat. It’s an incomprehensible deal for Washington — one of the worst I remember. While there is no question it was a deal the Preds had to do — you don’t pass on a bargain like that no matter what — losing Erat, who was tied for the lead in scoring on a team almost as inept offensively as Columbus with 21 points, makes it tough to believe the team will be strong going forward this year. Forsberg won’t help now. So while Nashville didn’t entirely throw in the towel on this season, they certainly tapped the brakes. It’s hard to win a race when you do that.
Blue Jackets at Predators Betting storylines
Gaborik should be with Columbus for this game, though that has yet to be confirmed as I write, and you’ll want to check out his status before betting. If he is there then he will provide a major boost for the team. Whether he produces points or not, just the confidence of knowing that management had the faith to make this deal will mean a lot to this team. They should spring out of the gate in this one even more than they have been recently — and this is a team that has secured at least a point in 15 of their last 17 to get themselves into the position where this deal made sense. A month ago it would have been incomprehensible.
Another guy who could see a boost as a result of the deadline is Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. He has been the No. 1 guy this year for Columbus and has been very good. Having long-time Columbus goalie Steve Mason over his shoulder, though, had to wear on him because he knew his leash was short. Mason was dealt to Philadelphia for Michael Leighton — a goalie Bobrovsky already beat out in Philadelphia the last two years. Leighton is a competent backup, but Bobrovsky will definitely view this deal as an endorsement of him, and that will give him a nice boost — at least in the short term.
Blue Jackets at Predators NHL Odds and Betting Trends
These teams have met twice before this year with the home team winning both times. Most recently, Nashville won 5-2 on March 23. The Blue Jackets are 7-2 in their last nine games following a win and are coming into this one having won two straight. The Blue jackets are just 3-23 in their last 26 games in Nashville.
Blue Jackets at Predators Picks and Betting Predictions
I am bullish on the Gaborik deal and on the Blue Jackets in general. The Predators are strong at home, while the Blue Jackets are not a great road team. Still, at this price the value is on Columbus. They will have a huge emotional boost in this one, and Gaborik can step right in with Prospal and Anisimov — two guys he has played with in New York. Nashville may be slightly more likely to win, but not to the extent that is indicated by this price. Columbus is the pick.
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