The Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes tangle at the PNC Arena in Raleigh on Monday night. The Blue Jackets are coming off a two-game series against the Chicago Blackhawks which saw them take a split. It was a highly entertaining contest in the first game, as the Blue Jackets beat the Blackhawks in a back and forth affair, 6-5.
Things tightened up in the next contest, and while the Blackhawks won, the Blue Jackets were able to score a point as a result of an overtime loss, 3-2. I think that series went as expected. The Blue Jackets and Blackhawks are both evenly matched, and those games could have gone in either direction.
The Blue Jackets head into Raleigh with a record of 7-5-4 and 18 points. They are in a tight spot in the Central Division. There are four teams tied for the second spot in the division, with the Panthers, Hurricanes, and Blackhawks all knotted up. The opportunity is there for the taking in the Central. Tampa is playing without Nikita Kucherov this season, and has been on the Covid-19 list recently.
It hasn’t mattered, though, because the Lightning continue to lead the division with a record of 10-2-1 and 21 points. People expecting a Stanley Cup hangover from the Lightning have been left badly disappointed this season. They are looking as good as ever in Tampa, and look hungry to repeat as champions. I took a while for the Lightning to get over the Stanley Cup hump in the Stamkos era. Now it doesn’t look like they want to go anywhere.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are not a team to sleep on in the Central. They have steadily risen up the ranks the last few years. From a .500 team to 46-29-7 and 38-25-5 the last two years. After two years of playing well in the regular season, success is going to have to happen in the playoffs as well now. The honeymoon period is over with their fans, and now they’re going to need to take the next step. Head below for our free Blue Jackets vs. Hurricanes pick on February 15, 2021.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Carolina Hurricanes NHL Betting Odds:
Blue Jackets vs. Hurricanes Prediction:
The Carolina Hurricanes are a good team, but I think it ends there in Raleigh. Good, though not good enough to defeat the best teams in the playoffs when it matters most. That said, the Hurricanes are still a fun team to watch, and their offence can get things going. They are coming off back-to-back wins against the Dallas Stars by scores of 5-3, and most recently, a 4-3 win in overtime on Saturday.
The offence has been sizzling hot recently for the Hurricanes. They have netted at least 4 goals in seven of their previous eight outings. In their previous ten games, the Hurricanes have scored 3.5 goals per contest. Overall, they are tenth in the NHL with 3.3 goals per game.
Expect them to be able to exploit a Columbus team that has been having problems in the defensive zone. It isn’t typical for a John Tortorella squad to be so soft defensively, but that’s what they’ve been. Tortorella would likely be offended by that, but at the same time, he’d likely have to agree. Trust me, the guy doesn’t like being called soft.
The Blue Jackets have conceded an average of 3.3 goals per game for 24th in the NHL. Tortorella didn’t just bench Patrik Laine because of the lack of spark offensively, but he wasn’t getting back defensively. That said, Tortorella is on the hot seat, and he may not survive much longer if the Blue Jackets don’t get going this season.
James Reimer is currently noted as probable to start for the Hurricanes tonight. He hasn’t been winning because of excellent goaltending, but his teammates have been providing him with terrific goal support. Reimer owns a 3.11 GAA and 0.889 save percentage. Despite those below average numbers, he has a record of 6-1-0. The playmakers come out to help Reimer when he’s starting.
As a result of the Hurricanes’ hot hand offensively recently, the total has gone OVER the total in six of their previous seven outings. Overall on the year, the Hurricanes have favoured the OVER in 7 of 11 games. Conversely, the Blue Jackets are 4-2 to the OVER in their last six games, including an entertaining 6-5 game last week. I think the total should be 6 goals here. At 5.5 goals, there appears to be some value to be had in Raleigh on the OVER.