The Minnesota Wild are in Columbus for a Thursday night matchup with the Blue Jackets. The Jackets are back home after a 4-2 loss to the Penguins and 7-5 win over the Red Wings in Detroit. It got a bit crazy at Little Caesars Arena, as the Jackets had to keep coming to put away the Red Wings. The blue liners decided to take the night off and watch the fireworks. Things will likely settle down in Columbus with the Wild in town.
If there’s an easy prediction for where the Wild and Blue Jackets will be at the end of the season, it’s probably going to involve them fighting to reach the playoffs. The Blue Jackets made it last season, beat the eventual Stanley Cup Champions in their own arena twice to take a 2-0 series lead. That of course crumbled, as they lost the next four games and lost the series. The rest is history. So, at least the Jackets have that to hang their hat on when it comes to last season. They made the Capitals sweat the most.
The Wild were in a similar position last season. They made the playoffs, but couldn’t make it further than the first-round. The Winnipeg Jets bounced them in five games, so the Jackets can brag about the one more game they won. Now here we are in 2018-19 and their records are exactly the same.
The Wild enter at 14-8-1 and the Blue Jackets are 14-8-1. When the season is nearly over they will likely be in similar positions, just different conferences. The Wild are on the road after enjoying six of their last seven games at home. Conversely, the Blue Jackets played four of their last five on the road. Head below for our free Wild vs. Blue Jackets pick.
Minnesota Wild vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick
Dubnyk hasn’t been sharp in net in his last two outings. He allowed 4 goals to the Senators and then another 4 in a 4-3 loss to the Coyotes. Dubnyk was fortunate to be playing the Senators, who would have trouble stopping a college team defensively. He got some solid goal support with the Wild ringing up 6 on the board. Other than his recent rough patch, he has played relatively well with a 2.57 GAA and 0.916 save percentage.
That doesn’t look luck much, but in the NHL today that is pretty decent. Scoring has been up, so what used to look like average numbers for goaltenders are better this season. The Wild have the edge in this game on defence, as they’ve allowed 2.75 goals per game compared to 3.21 per game for the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky must find another level and improve on his 2.74 GAA to be considered great. He was doing well before the Red Wings mauled him for 5 goals.
Along with their matching records, the Blue Jackets have gone 10-12 to the O/U and the Wild are 12-10, so everything has essentially evened out statistically in this contest. In other words, the bookmakers are giving the Blue Jackets -130, or thereabout, for home ice. Columbus have gone 6-4-0 at home, while the Jackets are 6-5-0 on the road. I don’t find any value with the Blue Jackets at that price. In a game that has been decided by one goal in their last three meetings, drinking the juice doesn’t look like the wise play in Ohio on Thursday. I’d get the value with the Wild in this contest.