The Columbus Blue Jackets weren’t rewarded for their effort last night in Edmonton, as they fell by a score of 4-1 despite peppering Mikko Koskinen for 46 shots. The Oilers took a 3-0 lead late in the third period to put the Blue Jackets away after holding onto a 1-0 lead since the first period. The Oilers haven’t received standout goaltending often this season.
Between Koskinen and Mike Smith, the Oilers haven’t had a true No. 1 goalie to put between the pipes. If they did then I don’t think the Pacific Division would be a question mark right now. In any event, Koskinen showed up in a big way to frustrate the Blue Jackets in that contest. They are going to need more of that if they get into the playoffs.
Columbus continues to slip out of favor in the playoff race as the injuries pile up high. They have had to deal with key players out of the lineup, and will not be healthy before the end of the season. In other words, the Blue Jackets are going to have to make due with what they have. Injuries have been a consistent theme for the Blue Jackets in 2019-20, but it’s reached an apex at the worst possible time recently.
The absence of Oliver Bjorkstrand might be the biggest hit to the Blue Jackets of all. His injury removes the top goal scorer on the roster out of action. They will also have to deal without Elvis Merzlikins. It would have been a tremendous luxury to have Joonas Korpisalo and Merzlikins work in tandem, but Merzlikins is on the shelf with a concussion.
John Tortorella will likely go with Matiss Kivlenieks in the crease against the Canucks on a back-to-back. For the No. 3 guy going into this season in the AHL, Kivlenieks has been serviceable enough, but isn’t going to provide the results that the Blue Jackets are used to finding from Korpisalo and Merzlikins.
Kivlenieks would get a tough assignment against a Canucks team who are feeling confident following a 6-3 win Friday night. The Canucks are still in the hunt in the Pacific with a record of 35-26-6 and 76 points. That has them 6 points behind the Oilers and Golden Knights for first in the division. They’d be in the playoffs with a wildcard if the postseason started on Sunday, though the wildcard race is razor thin, as they’re tied with the Predators and Jets at 76 points. Head below for our free Blue Jackets vs. Canucks pick.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Vancouver Canucks Betting Odds:
Blue Jackets vs. Canucks Prediction:
The Blue Jackets have to find a way to stop the bleeding soon, or they’ll quickly fall out of the playoff picture. They’re 32-22-15 with 79 points and hanging on for dear life in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets are currently in position to get the final wildcard, but the trajectory they are on now doesn’t look good for them.
The Hurricanes or even the Rangers might sneak up on them and steal their wildcard if they don’t pick things up soon. Their injury situation isn’t going to fix itself overnight, so something is going to have to change with the guys available. The Blue Jackets have lost 12 of their 13 last games. Overtime losses to get a single point here and there during that stretch has kept them afloat.
The once fierce Blue Jackets’ defence has been floundering. Timely goaltending and a strong defensive effort has been the catalyst for the Blue Jackets this season. Without that they’re not competing for a spot in the playoffs in March. However, we’ve seen them taking it on the chin recently and that strong effort in the defensive zone hasn’t been present.
The Blue Jackets have allowed 3.8 goals per game in their previous ten games. They’d love to have Seth Jones back on the blueline, but he may miss the rest of the regular season. Jones is the glue of the Blue Jackets’ defence and is missed in Columbus.
Columbus has allowed at least 3 goals in their last 12 contests. For a team that prides itself on winning games with their defence, that’s going to be effective enough. It’s likely going to be a tough night for the Blue Jackets again on Sunday. The Canucks are at home where they’ve found it easy to score on their opponents.
They have recorded an average of 3.73 goals per game at Rogers Arena. Overall, the Canucks are 8th in the league with 3.27 goals scored a game. The defence has been awfully vulnerable recently, though, including a 5-3 loss against the Blue Jackets a week ago. In their last ten games, the Canucks have allowed 3.5 goals per game, and 4.2 goals a game in their last five. With a total of 5.5, I think we can get to the OVER in a 4-2 or 4-3 game on Sunday at Rogers Arena.