Columbus Blue Jackets (15-17-4) at Carolina Hurricanes (14-14-8)
|Date & Time||Monday December 23, 2013, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Carolina Hurricanes -131 / Columbus Blue Jackets +119 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Blue Jackets head into Raleigh looking for a confidence boosting victory before they head into the Christmas break.
Columbus has been known as a league doormat for some time now but they appeared to have turned the corner towards the end of last year as they came up just short of the playoffs and finished the season as one of the hottest teams in the league. With the reigning Vezina Trophy winner on their team and a number of young superstars waiting for an opportunity to shine this was supposed to be the season the Jackets broke through and make some noise in the Eastern Conference. However, things haven’t quite gone to plan. Columbus finds themselves in seventh place in the Metro division and are light years away from where the Penguins are at the moment and while they could very well turn things around in the second half like they did last year I don’t think they’ll come anywhere near the playoffs. Curtis McIllhenny gets the call in the Jackets’ crease as he goes up against Justin Peters for the Canes.
Carolina has been one of the most frustrating teams in the Eastern Conference as they have a ton of talent and the pieces to do some damage yet they can’t find the chemistry and consistency to be competitive every night. The Canes were supposed to be the team on the rise last year and while they scapegoated their futility on losing Cam Ward in the crease they just haven’t played up to the potential they can be at. Led by Eric and Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, and Alex Semin up front the Canes have some guys who can score the puck and defensively they aren’t too bad either but could use another piece if they’re to make a run at the Cup. The Canes sit perfectly at the .500 mark at the moment which basically sums up their inconsistencies and that has to be frustrating for a fan base looking for another Stanley Cup. Despite the way they have played this year I am still a supporter of the Canes and in this spot I don’t see them having much trouble and with a nice break looming I see the Canes giving 100% effort here and winning this with ease.