The NHL is set up with a solid day of action on Thursday night. Ten games are up on the board throughout March 12. One of these games will be a matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets. These two teams have had solid seasons so far, which should lead to an exciting game on Thursday night. The puck will drop for this matchup at around 7:00 PM Eastern on ESPN+.
Pittsburgh has earned a record of 40-23-6 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in third place of the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins are three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers and five points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes in the division race. Pittsburgh is coming off a win in their last game and will look to turn it into a streak with a victory on Thursday night.
The Blues Jackets have posted a record of 33-22-15 to this point in the season, which has helped put them in a tie for the fourth seed in the Metropolitan Division. Columbus is tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for a wild card spot, while the New York Islanders are one point behind them. The Blue Jackets are coming off a win, but have lost twelve of their last fifteen. Columbus will look to bounce back with a win in this one.
These two teams have put up solid campaigns so far, which has helped them earn playoff spots. I expect both teams to come out strong in this one as they are in a close race in the Metropolitan Division. These two teams are not far off in the standings, so any point in this game would be huge. I think this should be a good game to watch on Thursday night.
The first meeting of the season series between the Penguins and the Blue Jackets was on October 5 in Pittsburgh. Jared McCann had two goals and an assist to help lead Pittsburgh. Patric Hornqvist had two goals, while Sidney Crosby and Alex Galchenyuk both had two assists. The Penguins were able to dominate that night with a 7-2 win.
The second game of the season series shifted to Columbus on November 29. Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, but it was not enough. Gustav Nyquist had a hat trick, while Nick Foligno tallied two goals of his own. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 29 of the 31 shots against him to help give the Blue Jackets a 5-2 win at home.
The third and most recent game of the season series was hosted by Pittsburgh on December 12. Both goalies had a great game throughout, keeping the score 0-0 through regulation. Bryan Rust finally broke through in overtime though. Korpisalo stopped 31 of the 32 shots against him, but it was not enough. Tristan Jarry had a 17 shot shutout to give the Penguins a 1-0 win.
These two teams have met up three times throughout the regular season so far. Pittsburgh has a 2-1 lead in the season series, which the Blue Jackets will look to erase on Thursday night. The most recent game was the closest, but that was a few months ago. Columbus has done better since then and they will look to prove it with a win in this one.
The Penguins special teams have been solid to this point in the season. Pittsburgh’s power play has capitalized on 42 of their 211 power play chances, which is a 19.9 percent success rate. The Penguins penalty kill has been stronger this season. Pittsburgh has held their opponents to 34 goals on 190 power play opportunities, which is an 82.1 percent penalty kill.
Columbus’s power play has not done great to this point in the season. The Blue Jackets have been able to score on 31 of their 189 power play chances, which is a 16.4 percent power play. Columbus’s penalty kill has found more success though. The Blue Jackets have held opposing teams to 31 goals on 169 power play attempts, which is an 81.7 percent kill rate.
Both teams have been under the league average on special teams this season, which could lead to a quiet night on special teams. Both the Penguins and the Blue Jackets have had stronger penalty kills this season. I do not expect special teams to play a big role in this game, but if either team can break through, it could give them the edge.
I expect Matt Murray to get the nod in the crease for Pittsburgh on Thursday night. Murray has earned a record of 20-11-5 to this point in the season. He has posted a save percentage of .899 and a 2.87 GAA through those games. Murray’s last start came against the New Jersey Devils, where he stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced in a winning effort.
I believe that Joonas Korpisalo will get the start in net for the Blue Jackets in this matchup. Korpisalo has put up a record of 19-12-5 throughout his 37 games this season. Korpisalo has earned a .911 save percentage and a 2.60 GAA. Korpisalo’s last start came against the Edmonton Oilers, where he stopped 20 of the 23 shots against him in a loss.
These two goalies have had solid seasons so far. Korpisalo has put up the better numbers throughout this season though. Murray has struggled, but will look to earn a big win against his division rival. If Korpisalo can bounce back after his last performance, I think that he will be able to help lead the Blue Jackets to a big win at home.
Thursday night’s matchup between the Penguins and the Blue Jackets will be the last game of the season series. Pittsburgh has a 2-1 lead in the series, but I think that Columbus has a good chance to earn a win in this one. The Blue Jackets match up well with the Penguins on special teams. If Korpisalo can step up, I think it will give Columbus the necessary edge to earn the win.
BetOnline has Pittsburgh listed as a -140 against the money line in this game. This implies that the Penguins will win this game around 58.3 percent of the time. I think with these two teams still in a fight for a playoff spot, it should be closer to even. The Blue Jackets are at home in this game, which I think makes them have a lot of value on Thursday night.