The Columbus Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks hope to keep pace in the playoff hunt, as they seen to hold up in the wildcard race. Both clubs are teetering on the outside and a spot in the playoffs. They both may make it, or both may lose out. The Blue Jackets were in Los Angeles last night, as they coughed away a 2-0 lead in the 1st period to go on to lose 5-2. I don’t know if they were saving something in the tank for tonight, but they didn’t exert much effort following the 1st period.
The Jackets fell into a lull that they couldn’t recover from. The lull better not continue because every point counts at this juncture. The Blue Jackets are currently grasping on to the final wildcard in the Eastern Conference. They’re 5 points behind the Devils and 2 ahead of the Hurricanes, who are gunning for the Jackets. The loss last night for Columbus was a downer after beating the Capitals and Blackhawks. They’ve won five of their last ten games.
On the other side, the Ducks are pretty well in the same position as the Blue Jackets. The Ducks are the Jackets of the Western Conference. As it stands at the moment, the Ducks tied with the Blues for the final wildcard. The Blues just ended a long losing streak and traded away Paul Stastny, so they have been in a state of flux for a bit. Also, there are other teams barely trailing the Blues and Ducks. The Flames and Avalanche both have 73 points. Didn’t think you’d be talking about the Avalanche, Devils, and Hurricanes vying for the playoffs, did you? Anything can certainly happen. Case in point, the Vegas Golden Knights. Head below for our free Blue Jackets vs. Ducks pick.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Anaheim Ducks Pick
The Jackets were saved by John Tortorella when he took over as the head coach. However, now that they’ve stabilized, people are expecting at least a playoff spot for them. People forget how bad this team was just a couple of years ago, but with better results, come expectations. The Blue Jackets certainly have the makeup of a team that is a wildcard contender. They’re an average squad that doesn’t necessarily do anything special, but enough to keep their head above water and get the job done. The Jackets added Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline to assist their quest at reaching the playoffs. Vanek played in his first game on Monday with Columbus, notching a shot with no points. The Blue Jackets are 28th in scoring this season, so there is a need here for some offence.
Sergei Bobrovsky, along with Seth Jones and Cam Atkinson are doing their best to get to the playoffs with defence. They don’t have a top-notch defence either, as they’re 11th in the NHL, but it’s the only reason they are fighting for a wildcard. With that in mind, 28th in scoring and 11th in defence, they should be feeling lucky they are in this position to begin with. 2.56 goals per game isn’t going to get it done in the long run. The Ducks have been getting back to basics lately, with strong defence leading the way. They allowed 5 against the Oilers in their last outing, but it’s been the exception lately. Prior to that game, they hadn’t allowed more than 2 goals since February 11th. In their last ten games, the Ducks have surrendered 2 goals per game. After getting sloppy on defence against the Oilers, they should look better against a tired Blue Jacket team. I don’t absolutely love this pick. There isn’t anything I love tonight, but I like the Ducks enough to play them on Friday night.
PICK: DUCKS (-155)