Blue Jackets vs. Stars NHL Pick – December 2, 2021

The Blue Jackets and Stars are set for a rare cross-conference tilt tonight from Dallas. The visiting Blue Jackets have dropped two a in a row on the heels of five wins in a six-game stretch as they look to hang right with games in hand in the middle of the strong Metropolitan Division.

Meanwhile the Stars are hot as they’ve rattled off five straight wins and have won six straight at home entering this one as they look to keep the momentum going at fourth place in the Central, albeit they too hold games in hand on all but one team in the division.

Let’s dive into this matchup with a Blue Jackets vs. Stars NHL Pick from Dallas!

Blue Jackets vs. Stars Betting Odds

*Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Teams Moneyline Puck Line Total
Blue Jackets +170 +1.5 (-150) Over 5.5 (+106)
Stars -189 -1.5 (+130) Under 5.5 (-117)

Offense and Defense

Blue Jackets

Much to the surprise of many who actually realize it, this Blue Jackets offense has been quite potent.

In fact, it’s a group that ranks in the league’s top-10 at eighth with 3.25 goals per game on the season and while that number slips to 2.78 goals per game on the road, it’s a team that wasn’t exacted to score at those rates this season, and Patrik Laine hasn’t even been in the lineup for quite some time.

While they sit 21st in high-danger chances for/60 at 5v5, they move up to 12th in expected goals/60 at 5v5 on the season, according to Natural Stat Trick. Their 2.50 goals/60 at 5v5 are just a hair over their 2.38 expected mark, so this Jackets even-strength offense has been deserving of their fate so far this season.

After a seven-game stretch in which they averaged 4.14 goals per game, they were shutout in Nashville their last time out on Tuesday, so they’ll be in search of a bounce-back effort in this one tonight.

As for the back end, the results have been largely underwhelming and quite disastrous on the road. While they sit 26th overall with 3.25 goals against per game, much of that damage has come on the road where they are tied with the Ottawa Senators for last in the NHL with 4.22 goals against per game. Yikes.

The underlying data supports the lackluster defensive work. Once a strength under John Tortorella, Brad Larsen hasn’t had the same defensive success as they sit 24th in high-danger chances against/60 and also 30th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5 . Perhaps some positive regression is coming as their 3.06 goals against/60 at 5v5 on the season is well above their 2.54 expected mark, but their defensive numbers are among the worst in the league across the board, especially on the road.

Stars

The Stars have transitioned to a defense-first club over the last few seasons and one of the better groups in the NHL in that department over that time, and offense has taken a backseat.

They’re scoring a little more this season, however, as they sit 20th with 2.80 goals per game on the season while sitting 20th again in high-danger chances for/60, although they slip to 26th in expected goals for/60 at 5v5. Their 1.92 goals/60 at 5v5 isn’t too far below their 2.10 expected mark, so as expected, this offense just hasn’t been all that dangerous for the most part.

That said, the offense has picked up of late. Over their five straight wins, they’ve averaged 3.60 goals per game. They’ve also won seven of their last eight while averaging 3.75 goals per game over that stretch, so they’ve been a handful for opposing defenses as they make their way up the Central Division standings.

While their defense didn’t start out great, they’ve been on an absolute roll of late.

They’ll enter this one ranked 10th with 2.75 goals against per game on the season, they have been shutting the door with authority while racking up wins. The offense deserves its fair share of the credit, but the Stars have allowed all of six goals over their current five-game winning streak, holding opponents to one goal in four games and two in the other.

They are on some roll on both sides of the puck at the moment, but especially on the back end.

Goaltending Notes

Blue Jackets

With both Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins out with non-COVID illnesses, the Jackets have recalled top goaltending prospect Daniil Tarasov who will make his NHL debut tonight in Texas.

Tarasov, 22, was a third-round pick in the 2017 draft and has appeared in nine NHL games this season, posting a subpar 2.96 GAA and .897 Sv% in that time. Tarasov also got into six AHL games last season, but also struggled in that stretch, posting a 3.16 GAA and .896 Sv%.

That said, he also appeared in 16 games in the KHL a season ago and worked to a far superior 2.07 GAA and .925 Sv%. It’s difficult to know what to expect from the youngster in his debut, but his work so far in North American hasn’t been too inspiring.

Stars

At the moment, the Stars have a great problem on their hands as they get to choose between two hot goaltenders for tonight’s start. That decision has been made, however, and it’s another young netminder in Jake Oettinger going for the home side.

Oettinger, also 22, has appeared in just five games this season (four starts) and has compiled an eye-popping 1.26 GAA and .959 Sv% in that time while Hockey Reference calculates his goals saved above average (GSAA) at 5.58, ranked 10th among qualified netminders despite playing in just five contests.

Oettinger got into 29 games last season with Ben Bishop sidelined (still is) and posted a strong 2.36 GAA and .911 Sv% with a GSAA over 2.40. He’s allowed just one goal in each of his last three starts — all wins — and is a clean 4-0-0 on the season.

Special Teams

Blue Jackets

A big reason why the club’s offense sits in the top 10 despite generating dangerous chances near the bottom 10 is the team’s power play.

One of the more anemic power plays in the league for the last few years, the Jackets sit in a share of 11th with a quality 21.1% clip on the man advantage. That group has been cooled of late, however, going just 3 for 17 (17.6%) over their last six games, but have maintained a solid unit for much of the season and one that’s certainly been better than many had anticipated.

Not to be outdone, the penalty kill is hovering around top-10 duty as well. They actually sit in a three-way tie for 11th with the Capitals and Flyers with an 83.6% mark on the PK. They yielded a power-play goal for just the second time in eight games on Tuesday as part of that 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the Predators, but are 13 for 16 (81.2%) over their last four games nonetheless.

Stars

While the even-strength offense doesn’t producer a ton of numbers both on the surface and underneath, the power play has been deadly.

The Stars sit fourth with a 26.8% clip on the man advantage on the season, and they’ve been lights out of late. While they are 0 for 3 over their last two games, they’re still 9 for 31 (29%) over their last 10 games. They’ve scored a power-play goal in four of their last six and just haven’t created enough opportunities over their last two.

The penalty kill hasn’t been up to par with the power play, however. It hasn’t been a major sore spot, but the club sits in a share of 20th with the Blues while sporting an 80% clip on the season.

That group has gone a clean 10 for 10 over their last four games and actually 19 for 20 (95%) over their last six, so that’s an area that’s been a key to turning their season around as part of this winning stretch of hockey.

Betting Trends

Blue Jackets

  • Blue Jackets are 19-39 in their last 58 games a road underdog
  • Blue Jackets are 18-38 in their last 56 vs. a team with a winning record
  • Over is 6-1 in the Blue Jackets’ last seven road games
  • Over is 25-10-1 in the Blue Jackets last 36 overall

Stars

  • Stars are 6-0 in their last six games as a favorite
  • Stars are 6-0 in their last six home games
  • Under is 5-0 in the Stars’ last five overall
  • Under is 4-0 in the Stars’ last four home games

Head to Head

  • Blue Jackets are 12-5 in the last 17 meetings
  • Home team is 5-1 in the last six meetings
  • Under is 9-4-3 in the last 16 meetings

Blue Jackets vs. Stars NHL Pick

This would appear to be quite a tough spot for the Jackets here.

After seeing their offense cooled off in a shutout loss while getting thumped at the other end of the ice, they turn to their third-string netminder making his NHL debut after some subpar work at the AHL level so far this season.

Not only that, but they face one of the hottest teams in the NHL that is letting next to nothing in at the defensive end of the ice while playing their best offensive hockey of the season. They’re also facing this team on the road where they are 4-5-0 on the season and their opponent is 7-2-1 on the campaign.

Had the Jackets still been rolling into this one with one of their two NHL netminders going, that’s one thing. But coming off a blowout loss before facing a white-hot Stars team that is playing the best defensive hockey in the NHL is a very tough task.

The moneyline is a bit steep, however, so I’ll go out on a limb here and look for some significant value in the Stars to win on the puck line for the sixth time in their last eight games.

The Bet
STARS -1.5
+130
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.

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