Florida Panthers vs. Columbus Blue Jackets - 4/12/14
Columbus Blue Jackets (42-31-7) at Florida Panthers (29-44-8)
NHL Hockey: Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm (BB&T Center)
The Line: Florida Panthers +142 / Columbus Blue Jackets -156 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
The Blue Jackets head into Florida on Saturday looking to improve their standing in the Eastern Conference playoff picture while the Panthers play out their final game of the year.
The Blue Jackets met expectations this season as many had them as a playoff team in the Eastern Conference at the beginning of the year and while they may not have come close to winning their division like some extreme optimists thought they have to be happy with where they are. Columbus could finish as high as sixth but as low as eighth in the East as they`re tied in points with the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings and with a victory and a Philadelphia loss the Jackets can claim the third spot in the Metro division and avoid a first round matchup with the Bruins or Penguins. Columbus are pretty heavy favourites in this spot despite playing on the road against a team auditioning some players for jobs next season. Unfortunately, the fanfare in Florida is never really high so I don`t expect a home ice factor here for the Cats.
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Florida is playing out the string of another disappointing campaign and while they`re coming off a nice victory over the Maple Leafs they are still in the bottom three in the league standings. Florida sits a point ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and while the draft lottery doesn`t automatically place teams in order based on their final standing the latter of the two clubs will get a higher percentage of balls in the draw which could factor in to which player is taken and when. Florida played a complete game against the Leafs, however that isn`t saying much at the moment as Toronto is in a state of complete disarray and everyone seems to be having their way with the Buds right now. Despite the odds being way too high for Columbus here I think they are the only play as a victory can avoid a first round matchup with one of the league powers and I think they do their best to ensure that doesn`t happen.