NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs Rangers (Wednesday, February 28)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs Rangers (Wednesday, February 28) article feature image

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) Pictured: Igor Shesterkin

Blue Jackets vs. Rangers Odds

Wednesday, Feb. 28
7 p.m. ET
Blue Jackets Odds+205
Rangers Odds-250
Over / Under
-105 / -115
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about the Columbus Blue Jackets vs. New York Rangers on Wednesday, February 28 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.

On the surface, this matchup looks like it should be a one-sided clash between the worst team in the Eastern Conference and one of the best.

But all eyes will be on Rangers rookie Matt Rempe at Madison Square Garden as the 6-foot-8 rookie has made a massive impression with his big frame and his old-school enthusiasm for dropping the gloves.

The Blue Jackets also happened to hand the Rangers their first loss in 11 games when these teams clashed on Sunday.

Look for a much more subdued affair in the rematch, as I detail with my Blue Jackets vs. Rangers pick and prediction.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The first-period scrap between Rempe and the Blue Jackets' Mathieu Olivier set the tone for a spirited game in which Columbus put together one of its strongest efforts of the year.

But before we assume the visitors will duplicate that feat, consider three things:

  • The Rangers were on a back-to-back on Sunday, and playing their third game in four nights. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets had last played on Friday.
  • Columbus is entering a back-to-back of its own on Wednesday, with the powerful Carolina Hurricanes waiting for them back at Nationwide Arena.
  • While the Blue Jackets' home and road records are similar, the Rangers are significantly superior in front of their fans. They're 20-7-0 at home this season.

As you'd expect from a team near the bottom of the standings, the Blue Jackets' statistical profile remains rather grim, even though they're 3-4-0 since the All-Star break.

On the injury front, Adam Fantilli remains sidelined with that skate laceration and Alexandre Texier didn't practice on Tuesday after missing Sunday's game due to illness. After trading for Alexander Nylander last week, the Blue Jackets recalled him from the AHL on Friday. He made his debut with his new team on Sunday – skating 11:23 on a high-powered third line with Kent Johnson and Cole Sillinger – and is expected to be in the same spot Wednesday.

Elvis Merzlikins earned the win Sunday and made 38 saves. He has been playing about two-thirds of the Blue Jackets' games recently, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him back between the pipes.

New York Rangers

No team is going to go 82-0, and while they missed out on setting a franchise record, the Rangers don't seem to be suffering any lapse in confidence after their Sunday's loss.

They've powered their way back to the top of the Metropolitan Division and after a disappointing month of January.

Igor Shesterkin has returned to his typical Vezina form. He's 6-0 in February, has improved his save percentage by 10 points to .909%, and has given up just three total goals in his past three starts while seeing at least 40 shots in each contest.

Jonathan Quick took the loss Sunday and has given up four goals in each of his past two starts.

Expect to see Shesterkin back in action on Wednesday.

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Blue Jackets vs. Rangers

Betting Pick & Prediction

In a sport like hockey that carries a high degree of randomness, stories like Rempe's can sometimes supersede the statistical analysis that smart bettors lean into when making wagers. It definitely adds intrigue when handicapping this game, and there's some early variance across the shops.

By Tuesday afternoon, BetRivers had moved Columbus from +230 to +200, while taking the Rangers from -285 to -245. And across the board, the total has shifted from 6 to 6.5, suggesting a goal-fest could be in store.

But with an on-point Shesterkin back between the pipes, the Blue Jackets' dynamic young offense will be facing a tough task. And with hopes of a long playoff run ahead, the Rangers really don't need to be expending big emotional energy on a bottom-dweller like Columbus.

Look for a great goaltending performance and a workmanlike win from the home side in a relatively low-event game.

Pick: Under 6.5 (-112 at BetRivers) | Play to -125

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