Red Wings at Blue Jackets Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 3/9/2013
When the Columbus Blue Jackets traded the only star the franchise has known, Rick Nash, to the New York Rangers this past offseason, the team was essentially starting a reboot. You couldn't blame the Jackets because even with Nash it was never relevant.
The team wasn't expected to be any good this year and mostly has complied, tied for the fewest points in the Western Conference entering Friday's play. Fans in Columbus have shown their indifference as the team is likely to have the worst attendance in franchise history. Currently it's averaging about 13,500 per game, No. 28 in the NHL. But the average capacity of 74.6 percent in the 18,136-seat Nationwide Arena is last in the league.
Things could be looking up, however. The club has earned at least a point in five straight games and has won the past three, all as an underdog. Plus, Columbus will be moving to the Eastern Conference with the Detroit Red Wings under the NHL's new realignment plan for next season, which should boost attendance with more games against regional teams. And Columbus has three first-round picks in this summer's draft. There could even be a sellout on Saturday when the Wings come to town and bring their horde of fans with them.
Red Wings at Blue Jackets Betting Story Lines
Columbus enters off one of its best wins of the season, 2-1 in overtime at home against Vancouver on Thursday. Matt Calvert went nearly end-to-end to score on a wrister at 4:03 of the extra period to win it for the Jackets. It was the team's fifth straight game to go to overtime/shootout, the longest streak in the NHL this season. The Jackets usually are competitive as 15 of their games have been decided by one goal.
It's now pretty apparent that Sergei Bobrovsky has replaced Steve Mason as the No. 1 goalie for Columbus. He had 34 saves on Thursday, his third straight start. He's 4-1-1 in his last six appearances. Mason has lost the past three times he has started. There was some bad news for the Jackets vs. the Canucks: right wing Derek Dorsett was blasted by Andrew Alberts in the first period, and Dorsett sustained a broken clavicle and is expected to miss the rest of the season. He has three goals and six assists with 53 penalty minutes in an average of 16 minutes of ice time. Last season, he had 12 goals, 20 points and 235 penalty minutes -- all career highs. Columbus center Brandon Dubinsky (eight points in 15 games) missed his ninth straight game with a knee injury but did participate in the Thursday morning skate and might play in this one.
The Red Wings also won Thursday, 3-0 at home against Edmonton. It was Detroit's third win in the past four and the only loss in there was a game in which Detroit led the incredible Blackhawks late in the third period only to surrender the tying goal and then lose in overtime. Never bet against the Wings when Jimmy Howard faces the Oilers. He saved 22 shots on Thursday and has won his past eight starts vs. Edmonton, allowing a total of 11 goals. Howard has been tremendous against everyone of late with a 1.15 GAA and .960 save percentage in his last six starts. Detroit plays eight of its next 10 on the road starting Saturday. The Wings host the Jackets on Sunday and then head to Canada.
The Red Wings had completely dominated their southern neighbors entering this season, never losing a season series and winning nearly 75 percent of the games overall. And on Jan. 21 in Columbus, Detroit won 4-3 in a shootout, indicating not much had changed. Incidentally, the game was played before 19,206, the largest regular-season crowd ever at Nationwide Arena. It was the Jackets' home opener. Since then, Columbus has beaten Detroit twice: 4-2 at home on Feb. 2 and 3-2 at Detroit on Feb. 21. Dorsett had a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight) in that most recent meeting, and Vinny Prospal scored the winner with 24.7 seconds left. So should the Jackets win this game, they clinch the season series because Sunday's game is the final meeting of the season.
Red Wings at Blue Jackets Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Detroit opened at -142 and Columbus +129 with the total at 5.5. The Wings are 10-12-2 “over/under” and 5-3-1 on road. They have won their past three as a favorite. The Jackets are 10-13-1 O/U and 7-5-1 at home. They have been a dog in all three matchups with Detroit this year.
The Red Wings are 9-2 in their last 11 after allowing two goals or fewer in their previous game. They are 4-0 in their last four when their opponent scores two goals or fewer in their previous game. The Blue Jackets are 4-1 in their last five home games. The under is 5-0 in the Wings' past five and 4-0 in their past four against teams with a losing record. The under is 5-1 in Columbus' past six games when its opponent allows two goals or fewer in its previous game. The over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.
Red Wings at Blue Jackets Picks and Betting Predictions
Don't think that Detroit doesn't know what's potentially at stake tonight in losing a season series to its little brother. A defeat also ties the longest losing streak ever against Columbus. The Wings also have won nearly 65 percent of their games all-time in Columbus. Dorsett's loss hurts things for the Jackets. Take Detroit and the under.
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