It was a miserable 0-2 night on Friday and it happened in rather crushing fashion.
The first loss of the night came in the matchup between the Rangers and Hurricanes where I had the two teams to go under the 6.5 total.
It looked not too bad throughout the game, but got a little dicey in the third with the two teams trading early-period goals. Still, we had a real shot at winning the pick with a 4-2 score in favor of the Rangers late, but the Hurricanes were forced to pull their goalie with about three minutes left and down by multiple goals.
With a little less than two minutes remaining, New York’s Ryan Strome chased down a puck and tucked it into the empty net, handing us our first loss of the night.
Not too long after was another crushing loss between the Red Wings and Islanders where I had Detroit as puckline underdogs at +1.5.
The Red Wings trailed 2-0 late and even had a goal called back. That said, just moments later, Anthony Mantha scored a power play goal to get the Red Wings to within one with less than three minutes to go, giving us an excellent chance to hit our pick.
Disaster struck late, however, as Jordan Eberle banged home a power play rebound with just 37 seconds left in the game to restore the two-goal lead while they added an empty-netter in a 4-1 Islanders win.
There are time when both these picks would have gone our way, but when you’re cold these types of late-game disasters happen.
Nonetheless, let’s move onto the only NHL game on Monday’s schedule – on NHL trade deadline day – and see if we can get back on the right track!
Season Record: 101-87-1
Now let’s dive into this free NHL pick featuring the Senators vs. Blue Jackets from Nationwide Arena in Columbus!
Senators vs. Blue Jackets Betting Odds
- Senators (+197)
- Blue Jackets (-220)
- Senators +1.5 (-140)
- Blue Jackets -1.5 (+120)
- Over 5.5 (-116)
- Under 5.5 (+105)
Senators vs. Blue Jackets NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s check in with each of these teams before I get into my final pick!
It’s trade deadline day and at the time of this writing the Senators have already made two notable moves, one of which has huge ramifications for this club.
While they traded Vladislav Namestnikov to the Colorado Avalanche, they also traded their No.1 center Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders for a huge package of draft picks.
While the trade itself looks brilliant for general manager Pierre Dorion in getting at least a first-rounder and second-rounder in this year’s draft, the absence of Pageau in this Senators lineup is pretty big in terms of the current state of the depth chart for this matchup tonight.
The Senators have worked their tails off this season and have not been an easy out by any stretch, but their current group of players, especially up front, are razor-thin and their depth down the middle is blown out of the water with the trade of Pageau.
Pageau has scored a career-high 24 goals this season, so his departure is certainly not going to help an already-poor Sens road offense.
They’ll enter this matchup tonight ranked 30th with just 2.25 goals per game on the road this season where their power play sits 29th with a 12.5% clip.
Pageau is a 200-foot center, so their defensive game could take a hit as well, and it too has been quite poor away from home this season.
The Sens rank 30th with 3.68 goals against per game on the road and 28th with a 74.8% mark on the penalty kill away from home as well.
Their possession metrics on the road aren’t exactly a pretty picture, either.
At 5v5 on the road, the Sens rank 25th with a 46.66% Corsi For%, 22nd with a 46.51% Scoring Chances For% and 20th with a 46.87% High-Danger Chances For%.
The Sens have received some up-and-down goaltending, especially on the road this season where their team save percentage sits 28th with an .889 mark, but at this point we aren’t sure who will get the call between the pipes.
If veteran Craig Anderson gets the nod, he’ll be coming in off a solid outing against the Canadiens on Saturday, turning aside 34 of 37 shots, but didn’t get a single goal of support in a 3-0 loss.
Anderson owns a 3.21 GAA and .901 Sv% on the season, but has struggled more so on the road where he’s posted a 3.57 GAA and .889 Sv% in 15 appearances.
If Marcus Hogberg gets the net back tonight, he will carry a 3.07 GAA and .908 Sv% into action to go along with a 2.81 GAA and .910 Sv% on the road, number that are a little better than his figures on home ice.
Hogberg has struggled of late, however, posting a 3.22 GAA and .902 Sv% in seven February appearances but also an .840 Sv% over his last two outings while allowing eight goals in just one 1.5 games worth of action.
Fortunately for the Blue Jackets, the teams underneath them in the Eastern Conference standings – save for the Rangers – have struggled of late.
I say that because the Blue Jackets have dropped eight straight games but are still knocking on the door of the Wild Card race in the east as they sit tied with the Hurricanes for the second spot, but are behind them on points percentage thanks to having played two more games at this point.
This comes after a white-hot stretch that saw them win six in a row entering the All-Star break and two of three coming out of it, but injuries have caught up with this club.
Three of their very best players are out with ankle-related injuries as Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson and Oliver Bjorkstrand are all out at the moment with Jones and Bjorkstrand only available again this season if they make the playoffs.
Add in injuries to Alexander Wennberg, Josh Anderson, Ryan Murray and Alexandre Texier and the Jackets’ group up front and on the back end is also looking paper-thin tonight.
One player that has returned from injury is goaltender Joonas Korpisalo who has been out since late December with a knee injury.
He was red-hot at the time of the injury, and owns a 2.49 GAA and .913 Sv% on the season in 32 outings to go along with a 2.39 GAA and .909 Sv% in 21 home outings.
We don’t know if he will indeed get the start tonight, however, as Elvis Merzlikins has been dominant in Korpisalo’s absence, and almost unbeatable at home.
Merzlikins has posted a 2.37 GAA and .922 Sv% in 31 appearances on the season, starting nearly every game for the club over the last two months.
At home, however, he’s been absolutely unbelievable to the tune of a 1.51 GAA and .950 Sv%.
He’s struggled a little of late, but almost exclusively on the road despite allowing four goals in his most recent home outing.
Still, despite the excellent goaltending the team has still scuffled in large part due to their struggles on offense.
Columbus has scored three goals in back-to-back games, but also just one goal in five of their last 10 games with 1.90 goals per game on average during that time.
The Blue Jackets will enter this one ranked 29th with 2.58 goals per game at home this season where their power play sits 26th with a 16.7% clip at Nationwide Arena this season.
That power play has scored in two of their last three games, but also just 2 for 16 over their last seven games, good for a 12.5% clip.
Of course, given the elite-level goaltending they’ve received at home, their home defense has been among the best in the league at second with just 2.15 goals against per game at home where their penalty kill sits fifth with an 86.2% mark.
That defense has allowed at least four goals in four straight games, but also just 2.80 goals against per game over their last 10.
If you look across the league at this point, these two offenses could be the two worst on-paper offenses in the league.
The Sens have zero depth down the middle at this point while the Jackets are missing their two best point-producing wingers and a defenseman that chips in offensively in a big way.
While there have been defensive concerns for Columbus of late and the Sens have struggled defensively all season long, I don’t see either of these offenses getting going tonight, especially the Sens.
I mean, keep in mind Ottawa has scored just one goal over their last two games, with Pageau and Namestnikov. It’s going to be tougher to generate offense without them.
The Jackets have scuffled mightily on offense of late as well and despite a nice matchup I’m finding it tough to see them getting a ton going tonight, and even if they do score three again, I’m not sure the Sens can score more than two and likely less than two.
Two bad offenses, two bad power plays and one elite defense. Add it up and I think we will get a low-scoring affair tonight in Columbus at an attractive price.