In what world is lifting up a player’s stick a penalty? The Chicago Blackhawks were downed by the Dallas Stars in overtime, a 4-3 final to give the Stars a sweep on their road trip. The Stars were aided thanks to what I thought was one of the most ridiculous calls I’ve seen in a while. On what was a near breakaway attempt for the Stars, Pat Kane fought back to overtake Radek Faksa. Kane lifted the stick up and made what appeared to be a nice play.
The ref had a different plan, as he awarded a penalty shot to Faksa. I’m not even sure what the call ended up being, hooking or a slash, I suppose. In any event, the Hawks shouldn’t have allowed that scenario to happen, on a power-play no less. Duncan Keith looked like a statue out there the entire game, as 3 of their goals were handed to them because of sloppy play from the Blackhawks. Keith has been an asset for the Hawks over the years, but he is undoubtedly losing a step. Corey Crawford looked slow out there, too. On to tonight, where we go to Columbus for the Ducks and Blue Jackets.
The Ducks road trip continues in Columbus, after they left St. Louis with a 3-2 win. It was a much better effort for Anaheim, following a 7-3 blowout by the Blackhawks. The Ducks can’t afford to play in games like in Chicago. They do not have the offensive firepower at the moment to get into high-scoring games with teams. With Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler on the shelf, they need to find other ways to win.
They expect to get both back in mid-December, but for the moment, they must rely on their defence and John Gibson. Head coach Randy Caryle said after that blowout loss that they have to get back to playing defence and try to win the 2-1 kind of games. Their effort was a 180 in the defensive zone, as the Blues couldn’t figure it out. The Ducks were also able to get lucky on what shouldn’t have been a goal in the 1st period. The puck was directed into the net with a glove which isn’t legal. It’s good to get lucky when two of their best offensive players are injured. Head below for our free Ducks vs. Blue Jackets pick.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick
The Blue Jackets enter Friday night with a respectable record of 16-8-0. If you look at the Blue Jackets two years ago, it’s amazing that they are a competitive team at the moment. John Tortorella has done a fantastic job with the Blue Jackets, taking them from nothing to something quickly. Sergei Bobrovsky has done a tremendous job in net for the Jackets. If you want to pinpoint their success on one guy, it’d have to be Bobrovsky. He owns a stellar 1.92 GAA and 0.935 save percentage. He is taking over as one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. We need to go all the way back to November 6th to find a game where he allowed more than 2 goals.
Bobrovsky has been even more of a wall at home, where he has a 1.53 GAA and 3 shutouts. In the Blue Jackets last ten games, they’ve surrendered just 1.7 goals per game. Note that in the Ducks previous five games they’ve averaged just 2 goals per game. I think against this banged up Ducks’ offence, the Jackets will have no issues taking care of them with Bobrovsky. If they could only get the offence going, though. The Blue Jackets have scored only 1.9 goals over their last ten games. The UNDER has gone 9-1-0 in the Jackets last ten games and it should continue on Friday night against a depleted offence for Anaheim. This has the makings of a 3-1 hockey game in Columbus.
PICK: UNDER 5.5 (-120)