The NHL is set up with an action packed slate of games throughout Thursday night. Ten games are up on the board throughout February 11. One of these games will be between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks. These two teams have had solid records this season and will look to grab a win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Blue Jackets have opened up this season with a record of 6-5-3, which has them sitting in fourth place of the Central Division. Columbus is coming off a win in their last game and have won two of their last three. The Blue Jackets will look to get a big win in this one as they are in the middle of the playoff race in the Central Division.
Chicago has put up a record of 6-4-4 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in third place of the Central Division. The Blackhawks have won three games in a row and four of their last five. Chicago has been able to jump into the playoff race after their recent string of success. The Blackhawks will look to build off those wins in this one.
These two teams have earned similar records to open up this season, which should lead to a good game on Thursday night. These two teams are coming off wins in their last game and will look to take another victory in this one. The Central Division is very competitive early in this season, which makes these early tilts very important. I expect a good one between these two teams.
The Blue Jackets and the Blackhawks met up twice throughout last season. The first game was in Chicago on October 18. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Markus Nutivaara scored for Columbus, but it was not enough. Alex DeBrincat had a goal and an assist to help force overtime. Patrick Kane had two assists and Jonathan Toews had the game winner in overtime as the Blackhawks won 3-2.
The second game shifted to Columbus on December 29. Riley Nash and Pierre-Luc Dubois each had a goal as the Blue Jackets jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson both scored in the third though to force overtime. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each had a goal for the Blackhawks in the shootout to lift Chicago to a 3-2 win once again.
The first game of this season’s series was in Chicago on January 29. Dylan Strome scored the lone goal for Chicago, which was not enough for the Blackhawks. Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist, while Eric Robison had a goal as well. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 31 of 32 shots on the night to help propel the Blue Jackets to a 2-1 win on the road.
The second game stayed in Chicago on January 31. Boone Jenner scored a goal for Columbus, but this time the Blue Jackets could not win. Philipp Kurashev and Patrick Kane each had a goal and an assist, while Mattias Janmark had two assists. Kevin Lankinen stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced as the Blackhawks bounced back with a 3-1 win.
Columbus has struggled to get things going on special teams so far this season. The Blue Jackets have capitalized on 5 of their 38 power play chances, which is a 13.2 percent power play. Columbus has also given up 7 goals on their opponents 31 power play attempts, which is a 77.4 percent kill rate. The Blue Jackets need to find a way to switch things up entering this one.
The Blackhawks have been dangerous on both sides of special teams throughout this season. Chicago has scored on 16 of their 45 power play opportunities, which is a 35.6 percent success rate. The Blackhawks have killed off 39 of the 47 penalties against them, which is an 83 percent penalty kill. Chicago will look to keep these numbers up as the season goes along.
Chicago has the clear edge on special teams in this one. The Blackhawks have found success on both of sides of special teams and will look to keep it up. The Blue Jackets have been solid on the penalty kill, but will need to step up in this one. If Columbus can neutralize Chicago’s power play, it could help give them an edge in this one.
I expect Joonas Korpisalo to get the nod in the crease for the Blue Jackets in this one. Korpisalo has started in 9 games this season, earning a record of 4-3-2. He has posted a save percentage of .901 and a 2.76 GAA in those games. Korpisalo’s last start came against the Carolina Hurricanes, where he stopped 22 of 24 shots in the win.
Kevin Lankinen will likely get the start between the pipes for Chicago on Thursday night. Lankinen has put up a record of 5-1-3 throughout his 9 starts this season. He has earned a .933 save percentage and a GAA of 2.17 in his games played. Lankinen started on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars, stopping 34 of 35 shots in an overtime win.
These two goalies have had solid starts to this season. Lankinen has had the better start, helping propel the Blackhawks into the playoff race early. Korpisalo will likely get a heavier load with Elvis Merzlikins on injured reserve. Lankinen played on Tuesday night and will look to pick up where he left off in this one, while Korpisalo will look to use the extra day of rest to his advantage.
The Blackhawks are coming into this one on a nice three game winning streak, but I like the Blue Jackets to end that streak with a win in this one. Columbus has put up a similar record to Chicago early in this season, which should lead to a good one. If the Blue Jackets can slow down the Blackhawks power play, I think they can grab a win.
BetOnline has Chicago listed as a -113 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Blackhawks will win this game around 53.1 percent of the time. I agree with this line giving Chicago a slight edge since they are at home. The Blue Jackets are a solid team though and I think that they can knock off the Blackhawks on Thursday night.