Columbus Blue Jackets (36-23-16) at Tampa Bay Lightning (45-22-6)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 3:00 pm (Scotiabank Arena)
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -170 / Columbus Blue Jackets +150 --- Over/Under: 5.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning meet Tuesday in game one of the NHL East First Round at the Scotiabank Arena.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are coming off an impressive five-game series victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Columbus Blue Jackets are averaging 2.40 goals per game and are scoring on zero percent of their power play opportunities. Pierre-Luc Dubois leads Columbus with three goals, Cam Atkinson has three assists and Zach Werenski has 16 shots on goal. Defensively, the Columbus Blue Jackets are allowing two goals per game and are killing 84.6 percent of their opponents power plays. Joonas Korpisalo has given up five goals on 114 shots faced and Elvis Merzlikins has allowed four goals on 74 shots.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won two of their three round robin games, but they’re coming off a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Tampa Bay Lightning are averaging two goals per game and are scoring on 40 percent of their power play opportunities. Tyler Johnson leads Tampa Bay with two goals, Alex Killorn has two assists and Nikita Kucherov has 10 shots on goal. Defensively, the Tampa Bay Lightning are allowing 2.67 goals per game and are killing 90.9 percent of their opponents power plays. Andrei Vasilevskiy has given up seven goals on 89 shots faced.
The Blue Jackets are 4-1 in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest, 4-9 in their last 13 games as an underdog and 6-14 in their last 20 overall. The Lightning are 8-3 in their last 11 Tuesday games, 45-21 in their last 66 games playing on 2 days rest and 106-51 in their last 157 overall. The under is 6-2 in Blue Jackets last 8 overall. The under is 4-0 in Lightning last 4 overall. The underdog is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings. The under is 25-10-1 in the last 36 meetings.
I considered the Columbus Blue Jackets and the plus money, as they're coming off an impressive series win over the Maple Leafs and have won four of the last five meetings against the Lightning. The issue I have is that the Tampa Bay Lightning have a second gear they can reach, and they looked good in their three round robin games getting ready for this series. The Blue Jackets will have to play even better than they did their last series, and that means taking advantage of more scoring chances. I'm not sure Columbus is capable of that against better competition.
I wish the price was a bit cheaper, but I'm not laying a goal and a half in a series opener. I'll bite the bullet and back the Tampa Bay Lightning.