Blue Jackets vs. Panthers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Florida’s Home Scoring To Continue (Jan. 15)
Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan Huberdeau..
- Florida looks to stay impressive on home ice as it hosts Columbus.
- The Panthers are 20-3-0 on at home and are big -290 favorites over the Blue Jackets.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Blue Jackets vs. Panthers Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+240|
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The beat rolled on for the Florida Panthers on Friday, as they moved to 20-3-0 on home ice with a 7-1 thumping over a Dallas team that has traditionally been well above average defensively.
Columbus will enter having put together one of its best efforts of the season Thursday, a stunning 6-0 win over a strong Carolina club, allowing Elvis Merzlikins a shutout victory in his return from the IR.
It would take a similarly spectacular effort here for Columbus to hang around against the Panthers and limit the league’s second-most productive team to a reasonable total. Will it be able to follow up that performance here?
Panthers Continue Home Domination
What the Florida Panthers continue to do offensively is simply stunning, and the result continues to be some of the league’s most can’t-miss hockey.
With four points in Friday’s big win, Jonathon Huberdeau has now pulled himself just two points away from McDavid and Draisaitl for the league lead, with 51 points in 36 contests.
He is somewhat less important to his team, however, than that Oilers pair, and his numbers are likely even being boosted from being in an excellent situation with Florida’s unreal depth and support.
The wealth of talent behind Huberdeau, Barkov and Ekblad, who go as the team’s truly elite pieces, is simply scary. We saw several of those guys post big nights Friday, including Sam Bennett and Anthony Duclair.
It will be interesting to see if Florida’s wildly up-tempo and high-scoring style will hold up come the postseason, as it has still allowed a notably high 3.09 xGA/60 over its last nine games played. The Panthers have generated a 3.41 xGF/60 rate, a winning combination especially with the offensive creativity the team holds.
So to see Columbus able to break through with a reasonable total on Spencer Knight here, who will start with Bobrovsky having played Friday, would be far from stunning.
I admittedly felt Knight would already dominate this season at the NHL level, but he has offered below-average play with a -2.7 goals saved above expected rating with an .896 save % this season.
Blue Jackets Finally Upped Defensive Play
The Blue Jackets put a halt to a markedly terrible run of play defensively Thursday, holding Carolina to zero goals after a stretch of averaging 4.44 goals against over an eight-game spell.
A 2.79 xGA/60 at even strength over their last eight games runs along with that poor goals allowed rate. This team has started to produce results closer to what we expected as the season has moved along.
With that said, a number of pieces are putting together really positive seasons. What the Blue Jackets have shown so far has to be cause for optimism for their fan base.
Young pieces such as Alexandre Texier and Cole Sillinger have helped to complement continued excellence from veterans such as Oliver Bjorkstrand and Zach Werenski, as well as an excellent addition with the return of Jakub Voracek. In turn Columbus has produced a surprisingly strong 12th-ranked offensive output this season.
Certainly it will likely regress to an extent, but I imagine most would have pegged this group to be in the bottom third offensively this offseason. The play shown so far has still been encouraging altogether.
Elvis Merzlikins has been very strong this season, likely even more so than his +2.3 GSAx rating and .911 save % suggest, and I imagine the Blue Jackets go back to him here.
Blue Jackets vs. Panthers Pick
Florida’s home game totals continue to be ridiculously high, and playing these overs are almost just automatic at this point.
Tacking on a half-goal and making the total 6.5 hasn’t done much to help this easy play, and it’s no fluke that these games continue to be this high-scoring in Florida. It’s simply causation of their style and personnel.
And better yet DraftKings has again opened this line at 6 even, and I am again very confident that they’ll be moving that to 6.5 by game-time tomorrow.
Florida continues to allow a far above-average amount of high-danger chances against, but it is making up for it by generating significantly more at the other end. In turn the over has cashed in 17 of 23 home games this season, and I don’t think there is reason this trend should change drastically here against Columbus.
As well, Spencer Knight has struggled so far this season, and he will draw the start here with Bobrovsky having played Friday, which certainly increases the chances Columbus can contribute three or four goals towards that total.
Get on that figure of 6 if at all possible while it’s up, but even at 6.5 I see value up to -130. We do not need to look away from a trend which has been very profitable all season long here.
Pick: Over 6 -120 | Play 6.5 to -130