NHL Hockey Betting: Columbus Blue Jackets at Florida Panthers

NHL Hockey Betting:  Columbus Blue Jackets at Florida Panthers

Everybody knew that once they got past their injury jinx that the Columbus Blue Jackets were going to be a better team. But this much better? That’s the surprise. Even the ‘best case scenario’ types were thinking that the Jackets would be in contention for a playoff spot, not leading the entire league. This is where they are, however, with a record of 29-8-4 and tying the record for the longest winning streak in NHL history. They’re just 2-3 since the end of that streak which was probably inevitable but they’re looking like they’ll get back in gear quickly. For one thing, the really can’t afford to do otherwise. They’ve got four teams within striking distance and all are playing well. Columbus has 62 points, 1 more than Washington and five more than Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers.

Florida is currently in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic Division but in a division where spots 2 through 7 are up for grabs that’s not too bad. They’re 19-17-8 for 46 points and are 4-3-3 in their last ten games. They’re tied for fourth place with Toronto, two back of Ottawa and five back of second place Boston. They’ve got Tampa Bay two points back, Buffalo 5 back and Detroit 6 back. They can’t be sure of anything at this point except that they need to keep winning if they’re going to make the playoffs. Right now they’d need 50 points to qualify for a wild card berth.

Columbus will start backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo and he’s a good one. He’s been sidelined due to injury but Columbus is now in a good position where they can get him some playing time and give Sergei Bobrovsky more rest. Korpisalo has started only one game this year with a 1.00 goals against average and a 0.969 save percentage. He’ll be opposed by Panthers backup James Reimer who is 6-6-3 with a 2.59 goals against average and a 0.916 save percentage.

Look for the Jackets to continue getting back in high gear with a win over the banged up Panthers. Florida’s record at home is marginal (10-9-3) while Columbus has the best road record in the NHL (13-4-3).