The Columbus Blue Jackets need a jolt to get their season back under control. As we enter the most important part of the regular season, the Blue Jackets have suddenly fallen cold in February. The Blue Jackets will look to snap out of a six-game losing streak tonight, after a 5-1 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Columbus has spent much of this season playing above expectations, though this recent bad run has people believing that maybe they’re not that good. Going into this season, the public perception on the Blue Jackets was that they aren’t going to be a good team. Losing Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky was enough to scare off Blue Jackets’ fans. However, for the most part, the Blue Jackets have bought into John Tortorella in 2019-20.
Is that all going out the window now in Columbus? They can’t allow this six-game losing streak to continue to snowball because the Blue Jackets are still alive despite the recent lapse. They’ve put themselves in a tough spot and could have been sitting comfortably right now, but the Blue Jackets are still in a three-way tie for a wildcard.
The Hurricanes, Islanders, and Blue Jackets are all tied up at 72 points, but the Blue Jackets are at a disadvantage in this race. They’ve played two fewer games than the Hurricanes and Islanders, so must make those points up somewhere and hope the Hurricanes and Islanders fall along the way. Elvis Merzlikins has looked human in his last two games, which isn’t a good sign, but he has the potential to get really hot again.
Joonas Korpisalo was sent down for conditioning as he continues to work his way back to the lineup. It will be an easy decision for Tortorella to go back to Korpisalo if Merzlikins gets in a rut, though it’d be a nice problem to have for the Blue Jackets. Despite getting injured, Korpisalo was still named to the All-Star Game and playing sharp between the pipes before going down with an injury.
He hasn’t played in a game since December 29 against the Blackhawks. Merzlikins will be called on to get out of his funk tonight against the Flyers in this home and home. The Flyers have moved into the No. 3 spot in the Metropolitan Division, and would get a playoff berth if the playoffs began today. Head below for our free Flyers vs. Blue Jackets pick.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Betting Odds:
Flyers vs. Blue Jackets Prediction:
It was a beatdown by the Flyers in their meeting against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. The Blue Jackets didn’t have any answers between the pipes, as the Flyers took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission and didn’t let up. Merzlikins was pulled early after allowing 4 goals on 12 shots. Matiss Kivlenieks gave up a goal on just 3 shots, so it’s amazing that the Flyers were able to win 5-1 with only 15 shots delivered. The defence did its job for the Blue Jackets, but the goaltending was terrible in a rare poor display by Merzlikins in the crease. Fortunately for the Blue Jackets, they’ll have the Flyers at Nationwide Arena in Columbus tonight. Things didn’t go well for the Blue Jackets in Philadelphia, but a change of scenery is likely what they need.
The Flyers have made a living at winning in Philadelphia where they’ve been a dominant team. They’ve been tremendous with a record of 20-5-4 at home, though there hasn’t been as much success for the Flyers on the road. Philadelphia has gone just 13-15-3 on the road. The Flyers have looked like a different team on the road versus in Philadelphia. In other words, home ice is going to be important for the Flyers in the playoffs. Winning games on the road is far from a sure thing for the Flyers. Along with the sub-.500 record, the Flyers have notched 2.9 goals and 3.65 goals against per game as a visitor.
Carter Hart has been almost unbeatable at home. Note that he owns a near perfect GAA of 1.62 and 0.943 save percentage. However, the road tells a much different picture. Hart has gotten torched for a 3.88 GAA and 0.855 save percentage on the road in 17 games. That’s pretty significant for the 21-year-old. Conversely, Merzlikins has been laser focused at home, with a 1.31 GAA and 0.957 save percentage in Columbus versus a 3.05 GAA and 0.899 save percentage on the road. Note that each of his last iffy appearances came on the road in Newark and Philadelphia. Expect a different story for Merzlikins at home this evening. This looks like a good spot for the Blue Jackets to avoid a seven-game losing streak.