Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets Pick – NHL March 17th

The heat is being quickly turned up on the Detroit Red Wings, and it’s starting to feel a little hot for their own comfort. After the Flyers picked up yet another victory last night against the Chicago Blackhawks, they have now taken over the wildcard spot. It was a gritty win for the Flyers, a night after they beat the Red Wings at home. The Blackhawks have had their issues lately, and the Flyers were able to capitalize on it. Philadelphia is not a team I would want to be playing in the playoffs. I think it’s in the best interest of the top seeds that the Flyers do not make the postseason. They have nothing to lose and it’s translated to quite the effort on the ice. For the Red Wings, they look to shake their loss off against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight. This is a rematch of a recent meeting between the guys from Michigan and that team down south in Ohio.

The Blue Jackets got the most of the Red Wings in a 5-3 win on March 8th. This is the third time in ten games that they’ve played each other. The Wings winning in a shootout, 2-1, and then the 5-3 win for the Jackets. This isn’t a must win for the Wings by a long shot, but it almost feels that way, for the sense of momentum and confidence. The Flyers are oozing with confidence, while the Red Wings are trying to find some of that as well. The Wings are 2-5 in their last seven games. Against the Flyers, they allowed 46 shots against the Flyers. Nobody was moving for the Wings. The blame will go with Petr Mrazek but it’s tough for me to do that with that many shots, he was getting pummeled.

That game was certainly against the Wings’ MO. Playing quality defense and winning it with 2 or 3 goals is their identity. That won’t happen allowing 46 shots on net. And now the Flyers have come and taken the wildcard from right underneath the Wings. Detroit can grab it right back with a win tonight in Columbus. It is going to be one fun race to the end of the regular season. The heat is on the Red Wings. We’ll see how they respond tonight in Ohio.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Pick

Mrazek will be looking for the shutdown performance tonight against the Jackets. Even though it wasn’t entirely his fault, he can’t be feeling too good after surrendering 4 goals to the Flyers. It was a rather lifeless effort from the Red Wings defensively. It’s atypical for the Wings, who are 14th in the league on defense. They have gone 5-5 in their last ten games, while scoring 2.40 goals per game and 2.90 goals allowed in that stretch. Note that Jimmy Howard may get the start for the Wings instead of Mrazek. Keep an eye on the starting lineup.

The Blue Jackets have looked good for the past several months, but I think it’s going to be difficult for them to hit the .500 mark, which should be seen as their goal for the rest of the season. The Blue Jackets have gone 1-3 in their last four games, which is pretty normal for Columbus. Put together a few good games, and then throw it all away by following it up with poor play. The Jackets have not had a victory since beating the Wings. They lost to the Penguins and Lightning in their previous two games. Columbus has been equal defensively and on offense lately, scoring 3 goals per game while allowing 3 goals as well. The defense has been their problem, as they’re 2nd last in the NHL, allowing 3.06 goals per game.

This is a spot bet for me. The Red Wings have to step up in a big way. The Flyers are hot, the Wings are not. Detroit has to follow suit. Philadelphia took care of business last night, and now it’s the Red Wings turn. I see them doing just that, behind the veteran leadership of Pavel Datsyuk.