The Columbus Blue Jackets welcome the Detroit Red Wings to Nationwide Arena on Friday night for a regional rivalry game. The Red Wings were in action last night, and they were less than a minute away from beating the Sabres in regulation. They took a 3-2 lead into the remaining seconds of the contest and ended up with a score of 3-3. Overtime wasn’t enough to settle the match, with the Red Wings and Sabres needed a shootout to decide a winner.
The Red Wings were able to find the winning edge in the shootout, as they won a rare game, especially coming on the road in Buffalo. It was only their fifth win on the road this season. Along with their fifth win on the road, last night marked the first win for the Red Wings since January 10 against the Ottawa Senators.
Dating back to New Year’s Day, the Red Wings are winners in only three games, so it’s certainly been a rough go of it in Detroit. They are destined to finish last in the standings, as they await the draft lottery and hope for some luck to go their way. Being the worst team in the league by a wide margin doesn’t automatically mean the No. 1 pick, though. That would be an added blow to Steve Yzerman and the front office if they can’t win the Alexis Lafrenier sweepstakes after such an ugly season.
That is their only selection of the first-round, and attempting to get another at the trade deadline may be shot. Yzerman doesn’t have many attractive trade chips that is going to result in an impressive haul in return. Filip Zadina, the most coveted player on the Red Wings’ roster is going nowhere. Andreas Anthanasiou was positioned to be their main chip going into this season, but he’s been a massive flop.
Moving Mike Green makes sense for the Red Wings, though Yzerman can’t expect a huge return for an aging blueliner. The Red Wings will be back on the ice tonight against what I believe is the surprise team of the season. Despite losing a plethora of talent in the summer, John Tortorella has the Blue Jackets rolling into February and possibly beyond.
The Blue Jackets enter Friday with a record of 29-16-9 and 67 points and are on the heels of the Islanders for the third spot in the Metropolitan. They trail by a point going into tonight, and are currently in possession of the first wildcard. Columbus are coming off a tight 1-0 win in overtime against the Panthers on Tuesday. It was another impressive showing by Elvis Merzlikins and the Blue Jackets’ defence to slow down a competent Florida offence. Head below for our free Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets pick.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Betting Odds:
Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets Prediction:
The Red Wings will not have much time to celebrate their win last night against the Sabres. That being said, there isn’t much to celebrate other than they ended a nine-game losing streak. The Sabres can’t be feeling too proud about allowing Detroit to snap the losing streak at their expense. The Red Wings hope to start a rare winning streak tonight against the Blue Jackets. They opened the season with two wins in a row, and then have only gone on a two-game winning streak twice since then. Along with getting two points last night, it was also the first game in three efforts that the Red Wings scored a goal. Their last goal before Thursday night was on January 31 in a 4-2 loss versus the Rangers.
Even though the Red Wings erupted for a 4-goal effort last night, one of which came in the shootout, the Red Wings have averaged just 1.4 goals per game in their previous ten outings. The 4 goals doesn’t put a dent in their standing against other offences across the NHL. Note that the Wings are dead last by a long margin, having scored 2.05 goals per game. It’s not even close compared to the next closest team, with the Kings scoring 2.47 goals per game on the season. Defensively, it’s been more of the same for the Wings. They’ve allowed 3.8 goals per game for 31st in the league, so last in both regards.
Jonathan Bernier was in the saddle last night, and he was okay with 3 goals allowed on 32 shots. That likely means that Jimmy Howard will get the call between the pipes against the Blue Jackets. There were rumours about a Howard trade last season, but Yzerman didn’t get it done. Now he’s untradable with a 4.12 GAA and 0.884 save percentage. His numbers have been embarrassing on the road, with a 4.70 GAA and 0.866 save percentage. Howard has a tough game tonight because his counterpart on the other side, Elvis Merzlikins, has been hot since taking over for Joonas Korpisalo.
Merzlikins owns a 2.30 GAA and 0.929 save percentage, including a stunning 1.19 GAA and 0.965 save percentage in nine appearances at home. As a team, the Blue Jackets have yielded just 2.14 goals per game, while scoring 2.75 goals offensively. In their previous ten games, Columbus has given up just 1.4 goals per game. It doesn’t leave a lot of leeway for Howard to have an off game. Huge kudos to Tortorella for having the Blue Jackets playing like this despite losing talent in the offseason. Expect the Blue Jackets to bounce the Red Wings tonight, as their defensive pressure should be too much to handle on a back-to-back at Nationwide Arena.