The Columbus Blue Jackets turn their attention from the Canucks and head to Calgary for a meeting with the Flames. This is a rematch of a recent meeting from a few weeks ago in Columbus. In that one, the Flames were able to upend the Jackets by a score of 4-2. The NHL did Columbus no favors by scheduling the Oilers, Canucks, and Flames here. However, all teams have opposite coast trips, and the Blue Jackets were able to rest up before the break to get ready for this trip on the west coast of Canada. Note that the Blue Jackets closed the first half of the season on the road against the Canadiens. This will be their fourth straight game away from Ohio. I suspect that there should be some tired legs for the Blue Jackets tonight against the Flames, who are going to be playing on a back-to-back on the west coast, a three hour time zone difference. It was the Connor McDavid show for the Oilers against the Blue Jackets the other night. McDavid, in his return to the lineup, made one of the more impressive goals you will see this season. He split two defenders and then took Sergei Bobrovsky to school with an impressive move at the net.
The Oilers went on to win 5-1. I am writing this article as last night’s game against the Canucks is being played, so that one is pending for them. If they lose that will make four straight losses to western Canadian teams. Another loss tonight against the Flames would make it 0-5. The rest of the season is going to be a learning process for John Tortorella and the Blue Jackets. Tortorella needs to see what he has to work with going forward. Remember that he didn’t start out as the head coach, he took over after the Jackets started the year off with a 0-8 record. They have been about a .500 team since then. So, there is work to be done in becoming a playoff team.
I see them a couple years off in that regard. Tortorella can rest easy though, because he’s going to have a job for next season. He will get the credit for bringing the Blue Jackets from a horrid outfit to a decent, respectable team. Respectable isn’t good enough for the playoffs, though. The Flames will try and earn back-to-back playoff appearances after a surprising 2014-15 season, but they are going to need to catch some fire because they currently stand at 22-24-1. Let’s head out to Calgary.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Calgary Flames NHL Pick
Bad break for the Blue Jackets lately, as goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will be out indefinitely. The Blue Jacket defensive problems are going to be magnified, and have been already, without the services of Bobrovsky. The Jackets own one of the worst defensive units in the NHL and that is what they are going to have to address to become a better team. But now add on the fact that they are without their starting goaltender and the situation gets even dicier. Columbus is dead last in the NHL, allowing an average of 3.19 goals against per game. In their last ten games they’ve given up 3.20 goals, so they are consistently bad, in that regard.
Reports indicate that Anton Forsberg will get the start tonight after Joonas Korpisalo got the nod last night. The Blue Jackets will split the two netminders before Bobrovsky makes his return. There is a lot of European talent in net on one team for you. However, after Bobvrosvky there is a drop off. Forsberg possesses a 3.03 GAA and 1-3 record. The Flames are 26th in goals against this season. Jonas Hiller, who is reportedly the starter for tonight, has a 3.16 GAA and 0.88 save percentage. Anything below a 0.90 in the NHL is a cause for concern. Check the official starters for tonight, though. I should have made this bet the last time the Blue Jackets and Flames tangled, but I’ll make the play tonight on the OVER.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110)