The Columbus Blue Jackets have quietly been going about their business as the hottest team in the NHL. What, the Columbus Blue Jackets are the hottest team in the league at the moment? The Blue Jackets don’t get the most attention from the media, whether they’re winning or losing, and a nine-game winning streak hasn’t done much to put them on the map.
It sure means a lot to the Blue Jackets, who have been catapulted into the playoff race and into a relatively comfortable position. The Jackets enter tonight with a record of 41-28-1, which puts them 3rd in the Metropolitan at 87 points. Barring a collapse in Columbus, they’re going to be playing playoff hockey soon. It’s all about peaking at the right time, and this is about the period in the year where every team wants to get hot.
After winning just two of nine games, the Blue Jackets picked themselves up and started on a tear. That’s all it can really take to change the plight of a team. Others trade sideways until the end of the season and are left battling for the playoffs. However, on the flip side, it can work in the opposite direction as well. The Hurricanes were right there, before running into a pothole and regressing considerably.
There isn’t much time left this season, but there is still time to for runs to be made. The Blue Jackets take on the Florida Panthers, who went on a bit of a run themselves. Bob Boughner was having a tough time initially, but his team has responded nicely in the second-half.
With a record of 37-27-4, the Panthers are a point behind the Devils for the final wild card. A couple months ago this seemed like a pipedream, but the team has turned it up offensively, and the return of Roberto Luongo helped as well. Head below for our free Panthers vs. Blue Jackets pick for Thursday night in the NHL.
Florida Panthers vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick
The Blue Jackets have been tough to tame in the last nine games. No team has been able to do it thus far. They are playing like a team who doesn’t want to be sitting at home in the spring. During their nine-game stretch of success, the Jackets averaged over 4 goals per game, including at least 5 goals scored in four of their last five outings. Bobrovsky is capable in net, but when the offence is playing that well, he doesn’t have to be pristine every night between the pipes.
Columbus hasn’t been a favourite destination of the Florida Panthers. They have won just one game in their last ten attempts in Ohio. And the one game they did win, it was a close 2-1 win in a shootout, a game which could have gone the Blue Jackets’ way. The Jackets have beaten the Panthers in three straight contests, which included a 7-3 beating in Florida. This is the final leg of a three-game road trip for the Panthers. They will be going for the sweep in Columbus tonight. Bobrovsky has been flawless against the Panthers in his career, a 11-1-2 lifetime record with a 0.939 save percentage and 2.01 GAA. For a team who has historically been awful in Columbus, and on the tail-end of a three-game road trip, the Panthers should come out sluggish tonight. I’d take a look at the Blue Jackets to win here and extend their winning streak to ten games on Thursday.
PICK: BLUE JACKETS (-140)