The Columbus Blue Jackets make the trek to Minnesota for a matchup of two teams that are trying to break out of funks. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Wild were on quite the roll, but in the blink of an eye they’re struggling night after night. That is really the NHL for you. For two weeks a team looks unbeatable, and then the next two or three they can’t win a game even if the game was rigged. The Leafs have made a business out of doing that the last few seasons. Even the best teams go on bad runs, so if the Wild fluctuate back to being consistent again soon it wouldn’t surprise me. I can’t say the Wild are one of the best teams in the league. Frankly, they may not even make the playoffs, which would be a tremendous step back from last season. The Wild beat out the Avalanche in a minor upset last year, and will need to turn things around if they want a chance in the playoffs again. The Wild lost six straight games before winning their last two. They dropped 7 of their last 10 games. One of those wins was against the Buffalo Sabres, so that wasn’t the best barometer to determine if they are ready to go a run. Conversely, the Blue Jackets are coming in as losers of 4 out of their last 5 games. Like the Wild, they won their previous game.
I didn’t have a pick yesterday, but touching base on Saturday night real quickly. I thought the Leafs were going to be able to bring a respectable offense to St. Louis with them after a string of dreadful performances, but they looked disinterested in being there. All of the fire they had during the winning streak they had about a month ago is long gone. Frustration is setting in for the Leafs, that goes without saying. The Blues played a great game in that one, and look to be one of the more complete teams in the NHL. If they can keep it together come playoff time, the Blues figure to be a threat then. Let’s start the week off with a winning pick, off a pick that has a nice trend going for itself.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Minnesota Wild
The Wild are a good team because of their defense. When the defense runs astray this isn’t a very good roster. They have a serviceable offense, but definitely not enough to compensate for when the defense is having problems. That is exactly what happened during their losing streak, getting torched every night defensively. I feel like there should be some regression with this team defensively, as they get back to playing better on that end of the ice. They’ve looked good in their past two games, where the Wild have allowed just one goal.
The Wild come into Monday night with a record of 20-19-4, while the Blue Jackets aren’t far behind at 19-21-2-1. The Jackets have been anemic on the offensive end of late, scoring 3 goals only once in their past five games. Are they going to need to score that many goals tonight against the Wild? The Wild have had a tough time trying to score goals against Columbus. In their last three games against the Blue Jackets they’ve only scored 2 goals. The last time they scored 3 goals was five meetings ago, and the last time they scored more than 4 goals was nine games ago, which was in 2011, so I’m not going to really take a game from four years ago into consideration. Additionally, the UNDER is 7-0-1 in their past eight meetings together. I am going to ride this trend and hope it continues Monday night.
Pick – UNDER 5.5 GOALS (-115) 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)