Blue Jackets (15-24-9) at Lightning (30-14-2)
- Time: 4PM PST – 6PM CST – 7PM EST
- Place: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
- TV: Bally Sports Ohio | Bally Sports Sun | NHL Center Ice
The Puck Drop
The Tampa Bay Lightning continue their pursuit of the Central Division title without the star power of Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. The Lightning’s split with the Hurricanes on Monday and Tuesday left them at three points below (62) Carolina and Florida who are tied atop the Central with 65 points each.
This is the last meeting between the Blue Jackets and Lightning as the two teams have split the first six games. The Lightning’s 6-4 win in Columbus on April 8 is the only time in the last 15 games that they have scored over three goals.
Tampa Bay is 2-3 over its last five games and the Lightning face two must-win situations this weekend against the last-place Blue Jackets, who are 1-9-1 in their last 11 games and haven’t won since a 4-2 win over the Lightning on April 6.
The Lightning stands at 17-6-0 at home while the Blue Jackets are 7-16-2 on the road.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of the Blue Jackets’ last 8 games
- Columbus is 4-8 SU in it’s last 12 games vs. Tampa Bay
- The UNDER has been the play in 5 of the Blue Jackets’ last 6 games in Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Lightning:
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Tampa Bay’s last 6 games
- The UNDER has also been the play in 6 of the Lightning’s last 8 home games
- The Lightning are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games on a Thursday at home
Columbus has struggled in the net all season as Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins have split the goalie duties. Korpisalo has started 32 of the 54 games and has a 9-13-7 mark with a 3.27 GAA as he has saved only 89.4 percent of the shots fired his way. Florida peppered Korpisalo with 33 shots and five scores in the 5-1 Panthers win on Tuesday.
Merzlikins stands at 6-11-2 as he has saved 91 percent of his opportunities with a 2.98 GAA. He has given up eight goals in his last three starts and could be in goal if they continue to alternate between the two.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is 2-2 over his last four games as the offensive struggles of the Lightning obviously put pressure on the net-minder because he is either playing from behind or trying to protect a close lead. He is 27-8-1 with a 2.08 GAA and is 93 percent.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Blue Jackets||+1½ (-120)||+240||O 6½ (Ev)|
|Lightning||-1½ (Ev)||-290||U 6½ (-120)|
*Odds Courtesy of BetUS Sportsbook
Other than Jack Roslovic, the offense has been an enigma for the Blue Jackets of late as he has two of the five Columbus goals in the last four games.
Zach Werenski and Max Domi tie Roslovic with six points each vs. the Lightning this season as Werenki and Nick Foligno lead Columbus with three games in these previous six meetings.
Center Brayden Point has been carrying the Lightning of late as he has scored goals in three straight games. He became the first Tampa Bay player to 20 goals on the season on Tuesday night as this is his fourth consecutive year where he has scored at least 20 goals.
Ondrej Palat had an assist on Tuesday as well as he extended his assist streak to three straight games and has posted an assist in five of the last seven games.
Ryan McDonagh and Yanni Gourde came up huge in the 6-4 win as McDonagh had two goals for his first multi-goal game with the Bolts while Gourde had four assists.
Tampa Bay has a distinct advantage off of both the power play and the penalty kill.
Columbus has been nearly anemic on the power play all season as the Blue Jackets have only 15 power-play goals and a 14.3 percent conversion rate (31st/NHL). Their road power play has encompassed only four goals in 45 chances.
Patrik Laine leads Columbus with four power-play goals on the season while Cam Atkinson has popped in four short-handed markers.
The Lightning penalty killers are 8th in the NHL as they thwart 82.8 percent on the Blue Jackets’ chances. Anthony Cirelli has Tampa Bays’ only two shorthanded goals.
Tampa Bay has 36 power-play goals in 143 opportunities which is still at a 25.2 percent clip (5th/NHL). Steven Stamkos has 10 of those 36 power-play goals as the Lightning need his presence if they are going to win the Central Division and make it deep into the postseason.
Columbus has allowed only nine power-play goals in 58 attempts on the road as the 84.5 percentage is fifth in the league.