Free NHL Picks: Blue Jackets at Rangers Odds
by George Monroy - 12/11/2013
The New York Rangers may be letting a golden opportunity to move up in the Eastern Conference Playoff standings slip through their fingers. The team started off a nine-straight home game stretch by getting blown out in its first three matchups, and it has won only one game during its last five attempts. New York trails the eighth seed by only one point and the seventh seed by five, and after that the rest of the East’s top teams are bunched together in the 40-point range. If New York can put together an extended winning streak while at home, the team could find itself near the top of the standings in the next few weeks.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have been sitting firmly near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the majority of the season, but a recent three-wins-in-four-games stretch to begin the month may change that. Columbus has earned solid victories over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils during that span. The team also stayed competitive with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, which was its only loss during that stretch.
Blue Jackets at Rangers Betting Story Lines
The Rangers have lost four straight home games and were not even competitive in three of them. The team is coming off two straight 4-1 losses to the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators. New York managed to outshoot Nashville and even had two power-play opportunities, but the squad was unable to capitalize on those situations. However, the most disappointing news coming out of the loss was the injury to Rangers’ team captain and second-leading scorer Ryan Callahan.
Callahan sprained his left knee and is expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks of action. The team is already playing without one of its top defenseman in Marc Staal, who is sitting out because of concussion. New York has scored only 10 goals in its last five games while allowing opponents to hit the back of the net 16 times in that same span.
Columbus may be playing its best stretch of hockey since a three-gaming winning streak way back in October. The team has scored 11 goals in four games and opened December with back-to-back shutout victories over two potential playoff teams. The Blue Jackets are coming off a five-goal performance against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night after falling behind early in the game.
Goaltender Curtis McElhinney has been one of the biggest parts of the Blue Jackets excellent stretch of play, and outside of allowing a season high four-goals to the Devils, he has looked fantastic with a .930 save percentage over his last five games. Columbus’ points leader, Ryan Johansen, has also played well during that stretch and has earned points in each of his last five games.
Blue Jackets at Ranges NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
New York opened as a -147 moneyline favorite against the +119 underdog Blue Jackets, according to BetOnline. The total was set at five goals, with the both the “over” and “under” receiving -105 odds. New York is 4-0 during its last four Thursday games and 5-1 during its last six games after a home loss of three goals or more. The team has struggled when playing on one day of rest and has not won a game in its last four matchups in that situation.
Columbus has struggled winning consecutive games this season, and the team is 1-7 during its last eight matchups following a win. Columbus has also gone “under” in four of its last four games following a win. Head-to-head, the home team is 8-3 during the last 11 meetings between the two, while the Blue Jackets are 1-4 over the last five games in the series.
Free NHL Picks: Blue Jackets at Rangers Betting Predictions
New York may be playing at home, but with the team missing two of its top players, it’s difficult to justify wagering on them. Columbus is playing well on both sides of the puck and is scoring goals while defending the net. The Blue Jackets have not been a great road team, yet for Thursday night’s matchup all the value seems to be on the visiting team. The Rangers may desperately need to win this matchup but just do not have the talent—due to injury—to back that desperation up. Take Columbus on the moneyline.
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