NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning (January 10)

NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning (January 10) article feature image

Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Steven Stamkos

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Columbus Blue Jackets in an NHL matchup on Tuesday night.
  • Tampa hasn't been as dominant recently as in the recent past, but should feast on a Blue Jackets team that has been among the worst in the league.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Odds

Blue Jackets Odds+320
Lightning Odds-420
Over/Under6 (-122/+100)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Columbus Blue Jackets head to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning for the second time this year. The Blue Jackets have been miserable all year, holding the second worst record in the league, and have gone 2-8 in their last 10 games.

The three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Lightning haven’t had as much luck as they usually do. They lost their last two games and prior to that, won four in a row. One would have to think the Bolts are licking their chops against a bottom-two team.

Here’s a look at our odds, as well as our prediction for the Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets have been hammered with injuries all season. They currently stand at fifth-most man games missed due to injury.

Offseason signing Johnny Gaudreau has made the most of what he’s been dealt with 38 points in 39 games. His 11 goals co-leads the team with captain Boone Jenner, but it’s not close to being enough for a successful team.

Besides Gaudreau, not much has worked out for them. Columbus lets up a third-worst 3.87 goals per game, with a bottom-five expected goals rate of 43.39 xGF%. The power play only clicks on a 16% clip, which won’t move mountains along with a mediocre penalty kill.

Goaltending hasn’t been a strength in Columbus one bit, and it partly explains its struggles over the season. I expect Joonas Korpisalo to take the net since Elvis Merzlikins started on Sunday. Korpisalo has had himself a fairly decent season, all things considered, playing to a +7.0 goals saved above expected (GSAx) and a .913 SV%.

Tampa Bay Lightning

For years, the Lightning have always been the gold standard of the league. Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point are all averaging over a point per game. They roll out four lines consistently and have a defense that can stifle teams.

To no one’s surprise, Tampa averages close to 3.5 goals per game and a seventh-best 53.63 xGF%. Given the team’s recent struggles to score, it feels like the Bolts are primed for a breakout game.

One thing you don’t want to do is to give the Lightning the man advantage. Over the past decade, Tampa has dominated on the power play and this year’s squad is no different — scoring at a 26.7% pace. Even when the Lightning are on the penalty kill, they’re still dominant, with an 81.1% success rate.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will probably take the crease here, having a season just about as you’d expect. The former Vezina and Conn Smythe winner is posting otherworldly numbers with a +13.7 GSAx and a .919 SV%.

Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Pick

If I was a Blue Jackets fan, I’d certainly enter this matchup pessimistic. While Korpisalo is a serviceable netminder, he doesn’t fare well against the Lightning. In 11 career starts, he’s 2-5-1 with an .875 and has allowed 4.04 goals. Not exactly encouraging numbers heading in.

The special teams aspect is something to keep in mind. Columbus usually keeps itself disciplined, but its penalty kill is below average. Tampa’s power play is historically powerful, which can pose some serious problems for the Jackets should they find themselves in the box.

In their first matchup this season, the Lightning dominated the Jackets, 4-1. There’s just not a whole lot to be optimistic about for Columbus, and I think Tampa takes this game convincingly.

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