Devils vs. Blue Jackets NHL Pick – December 20th

Another game and another situation where the Devils are shaking their heads at their goaltending situation. It feels like a goaltender is getting pulled on a regular basis in Newark. The latest was Keith Kinkaid getting benched in favour of Mackenzie Blackwood. Kinkaid allowed 5 goals and the Devils had seen too much. Blackwood went in net to give up an additional 2 goals for a 7-2 final score against the Maple Leafs.

Cory Schneider isn’t around to blame, as he’s back on the IR, so the show belongs to Kinkaid in net. Kinkaid has been the better goaltender of the two, but that isn’t saying much, because both have been less than ideal. It’s the second time this season that Kinkaid got pounded against the Maple Leafs. Blackwood was fine enough, but the game was already out of reach by that point. Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and Patrick Marleau all got in the goal column against the Devils.

Defensive woes have been a recurring theme for the Devils. I’ve padded the bankroll thanks to these issues, but it’s nothing management wants to see, and it’s been happening for too long now. Earlier in the season we might have been able to chalk it up as just a small sample size of games, but the same mistakes continue to be made by the Devils.

Things were going much better for them when Schneider was on the IR, so we’ll see if it was just a coincidence with Kinkaid back in more of a full-time role now. They are in Columbus tonight for a clash with the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets are coming off a nail biter of a win over the Vegas Golden Knights, 1-0, but have losses in five of their last ten games. They’ve been up and down, with the idea that they can only go as far as Sergei Bobrovsy will take them this season. Head below for our free Devils vs. Blue Jackets pick.

N.J. Devils vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick

The Devils might have to accept that their goaltending situation isn’t going to get any better from here. They were actually hoping to trade Kinkaid at some point to get something for him in a trade. That’s just about impossible to do now considering the way Schneider has been playing. There isn’t a single team out there who would take on Schneider either.

Kinkaid enters tonight with a 3.00 GAA and 0.902 save percentage. Okay numbers for a guy who is being paid to be a backup to Schneider, but that’s not going to want anyone to pay him starter money. Kinkaid has allowed 4 or more goals in seven of his last ten starts, so he isn’t a solution to Schenider’s struggles.

A portion of the blame falls with their defence as well. As a team, everyone must help out. The Devils are 28th with 3.63 goals allowed per game. In their last ten games, they’ve gotten walloped for 4.4 goals per game. The offence has been fine with 3.1 goals per game in their last ten, but it hasn’t been enough to compensate for a team hemorrhaging goals in their own zone.

Their effort on the road has been worse, as the Devils have allowed 4.12 goals per game. The Jackets have given up just over 3 per game at home and overall on the season, which might be the Devils only outlet to get a win. The play is on the OVER in Columbus between the Devils and Blue Jackets.

The Bet
OVER 5.5
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.