The Colorado Avalanche travel to the state of Ohio to dance with the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight. The Avalanche are trying to find some of the magic they had in Patrick Roy’s rookie season as head coach. That was one heck of a season for the Avalanche, who ultimately finished the season with a record of 52-22-8. The Avs are only two losses away from having the same amount of losses. The honeymoon period is over for Patrick Roy, and the Avalanche have only regressed since that season. They lost a key cog up front after the 52 win season, as Paul Stastny departed for St. Louis. The Avalanche fell to 39-31-12 a year ago. Now they seem to falling even deeper with a 22-20-2 record as it stands now. The loss of Stastny doesn’t have everything to do with it, but he was a leader on and off the ice for the Avs. It’s looking like now that they should have found a way to strike a deal with him. Stastny hasn’t been able to enjoy the same kind of success in St. Louis as he did in Colorado. However, being injured for a lot of that time doesn’t help either.
The best move the Columbus Blue Jackets made this season wasn’t on the ice. A front office move by bringing head coach John Tortorella to Columbus after the teams embarrassing 0-9 start was the best move. It didn’t take long for the match to work, as the Blue Jackets started winning immediately. No, they weren’t going to come back for some big playoff run, but they weren’t getting laughed off the ice anymore. A disciplinary like Tortorella seemed to be the best fit for this team. With Todd Richards, the Jackets were a ship without a captain. Well that ship was in some rocky waters and was about to crash and burn to the bottom of the ocean. Tortorella made sure that didn’t come to fruition, though. There is still a lot of work to be done with the Blue Jackets. They won’t be heading to any playoff this year, but they look to be heading in the right direction. I provide the rest of my thoughts below.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Pick
The Blue Jackets know what they need to fix. They just need some time to do it. The Jackets are in last place and just snapped out of a five game losing streak, but no one expects them to turn things around this season or maybe not even a year from now. Their defense needs some attending to, as they are 30th in the NHL with regards to goals allowed per game, 3.20 per game. They did beat the Leafs in their last game, but goaltender Joonas Korpisalo stood on his head to make it happen. The fact of the matter though is that they allowed 41 shots in that game. They won that one, but you can’t win many hockey games allowing over 40 shots in games. In their last ten games they’ve been allowing goals aplenty, with 3.80 goals against per game.
The Avalanche defense has been having some problems as well. Note that they are 24th in the league, allowing an average of 2.82 goals per game. The Avs have allowed 3 goals per game in their last ten. But the offense has been there in Colorado, it just hasn’t been enough to compensate for the poor play on the defensive end. The Avalanche are 6th in the league in scoring and have been playing well offensively lately. They have scored 3 or more goals in four of their last five games. The Avalanche should be able to keep it going against the porous Blue Jacket defense. However, I have no faith in the Avalanche defense either. Both teams are allowing greater than 30 shots per game. The only confident comment I can make in this game is that it should be an entertaining matchup with a considerable amount of goals being scored.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110)