Senators vs. Blue Jackets NHL Pick – December 31st

The Washington Capitals provided the Ottawa Senators with a brief second of hope against them in their previous outing. The Senators pulled the game within a goal, but they were unable to complete the comeback and upset. It was a decent effort by the Senators against a superior opponent, but in the end the result is the same as most games this season, another loss.

Doesn’t it feel a bit weird that this team was just a game away two years ago from going to the Stanley Cup Final? I think a lot of people forget about that series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ever since then, Ottawa have been on a slippery slope down. Their struggles came to a head in the offseason with the Karlsson-Hoffman drama.

Neither player is on the team now, but it just showed how disjointed the team was last season. You don’t want your star player mixed up in high school drama when the team wasn’t performing at an optimal level. That was essentially the talk of the offseason in the NHL.

And then in-season, an Uber video was released with Senators’ players poking fun at how bad their defence is and making comments about coaches. That kind of stuff happens on every team at every level, but it was just another distraction that took focus away from the on the ice product.

The on the ice product hasn’t been very good, either. It’s to be expected with this roster, and at this point, they’re playing for the 1st overall pick in the draft. There is already some young talent in Ottawa like Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot, so the future isn’t necessarily bleak with this team, though. Note that Chabot is out for at least a few weeks with a shoulder injury.

The Senators may be without Craig Anderson again on Monday, but does it matter at this point. They’ve had three different goaltenders in net and the defence is giving the same kind of support. Marcus Hogberg was decent in his debut against the Capitals, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back starting in Columbus. Head below for our free Senators vs. Blue Jackets pick on Monday evening in the NHL.

Ottawa Senators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick

Senators’ head coach Guy Boucher is shaking things up going into Columbus. All of the forward line combinations have been switched up in an attempt to get this team moving in a better direction. It’s more of a message to his players than anything. The Sens have tried several different things this season and none have seemed to work effectively.

The most notable line that will be broken up is Stone-White-Tkachuk. Practice was a little more physical on Sunday as well. If moving the lines around makes players want to backcheck, then consider this a win. However, if they still sit around while opposing offences skate circles around them, changing lines is going to do absolutely nothing. Ottawa are last in the NHL with 3.92 goals allowed per game. Unless they want to play defence, nothing is going to change for the Senators.

On the road it gets even worse, as they have given up a whopping 4.83 goals per game, while scoring 2.89 goals per game on offence. That has resulted in a record on the road of 4-13-1. In their last seven games on the road, their last win was against a below average Red Wings squad.

During their latest four-game skid, the Sens have surrendered 4.5 goals per game. Now, if things couldn’t get any more frustrating, Chabot is on the shelf for at least a few weeks. They shouldn’t expect to find a lazy Columbus team on Monday.

The Blue Jackets are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Friday. They were winners in five straight before the loss. I expect the Blue Jackets to come out and play a better game than we saw against the Leafs. With no Chabot, it’s hard to have any confidence in the Sens. I’d side with the Blue Jackets to get a 2 or 3-goal win on Monday at Nationwide Arena.

The Bet
BLUE JACKETS -1.5
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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.