NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Canucks
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images. Pictured: Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins
- A pair of struggling teams go head-to-head as the Canucks host the Blue Jackets.
- While neither of these teams is elite, the odds came as a bit of a surprise to our expert.
- Greg Liodice explains, and offers up his best bet below.
Blue Jackets vs. Canucks Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+146|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Coming off a solid overtime win in Edmonton, the Columbus Blue Jackets head to British Columbia to take on the Vancouver Canucks. It hasn’t been an easy season for the Blue Jackets as they’ve gone just 3-6-1 in their past 10 games.
When it rains it pours. The Canucks just can’t seem to stay out of the news, and they’re losing while doing it. Vancouver has undergone a controversial coaching change and is 2-8 in its past 10 games.
Here’s a look at our odds, as well as our prediction for the Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Vancouver Canucks.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets have been riddled with injuries all season, but they’re slowly healing. Johnny Gaudreau has been the only producer at a steady level, and Patrik Laine is close to a point per game pace. The Blue Jackers haven’t received much else. Jack Roslovic and captain Boone Jenner have done a fine job, but they shouldn’t be Columbus’ third- and fourth-highest scorers. One encouraging factor is that Kirill Marchenko has been a wonderful addition with 11 goals in 25 games.
Columbus has one of the league’s worst even strength attacks with a 43.46 xGF% (expected goals) and only generates 7.7 high danger chances per game. Its special teams aren’t much better, as the power play is second worst and the penalty kill is only moderately better.
Defensively, the Blue Jackets have also struggled. They allow 3.85 goals per game and are sixth worst in expected goals allowed.
It’s hard to tell who’s taking the net in this matchup. Elvis Merzlikins is posting nightmarish numbers with a league worst -24.3 goals saved above expected and an .868 SV%. Joonas Korpisalo has had much better luck with a +4.5 GSAx and a .910 SV%. Korpisalo gives Columbus a better chance to win, but he played the past three games, so Merzlikins could take the blue paint.
This Canucks team is incredibly skilled, but is also very top heavy. Elias Pettersson and captain Bo Horvat are averaging a point per game, but who knows if Horvat will stay with the team past the trade deadline. Quinn Hughes isn’t far behind and Andrei Kuzmenko, fresh off a two-year extension, is having a great first season in America.
Vancouver has a weak even strength attack, placing 27th with a 45.26 xGF%. Luckily for the Canucks, their power play has been fairly decent, scoring 22.2% of the time, while the penalty is the league’s worst.
On the defensive end, Vancouver is also a mess, allowing 3.96 goals per game and ranking fifth in expected goals allowed.
The goaltending situation is a mess in Vancouver. Thatcher Demko is still hurt, and even when he was playing, he was underperforming. It’s been up to Spencer Martin and Collin Delia, who have both struggled. Martin hasn’t won a game since December 27th, playing to a -16.3 GSAx and an .875 SV%. Delia has had a bit more success with a +1.4 GSAx and an .895 SV%.
Blue Jackets vs. Canucks Pick
Betting on teams toward the bottom of the standings is always fun to me. However, I was surprised to see Vancouver as the heavy favorite, according to FanDuel. While I’m bearish on both of these teams, I don’t think the gap is that drastic. The skill is there, but the morale in the Canucks locker room is low — VERY low.
Columbus isn’t the model franchise this year, but I can see a brighter outlook for them in this matchup, especially if Korpisalo is in net. Not only that, but with goaltending struggling on the other side, I truly think the Blue Jackets will put at least three pucks in net.
If Korpisalo plays, I believe Columbus will come out victorious. However, if Merzlikins suits up, there’s no reason to believe Vancouver will pot a few goals as well. Merzlikins has been dreadful all season and the Canucks have a ton of high end scorers.
Pick: Blue Jackets ML if Korpisalo plays | Over 6.5 if Merzlikins plays
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