Ottawa Senators (22-20-10) at Columbus Blue Jackets (26-21-4)
|Date & Time||Tuesday January 28, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Columbus Blue Jackets -126 / Ottawa Senators +114 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Blue Jackets look to continue their strong play on Tuesday night as they return home to host the Senators.
Ottawa heads into Columbus on Tuesday looking to chase down the Jackets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but with the way their opponent has been playing over the last two weeks they know it won’t be an easy task. Ottawa has had an up and down season but can vindicate their effort by making the postseason and perhaps pull off another first round upset like they did last year at the expense of the Montreal Canadiens. The Senators currently sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference but are just two back of the Jackets and Flyers and just five back of the Canadiens for the last automatic spot in the Atlantic. Craig Anderson who was the catalyst behind Ottawa’s last two regular seasons has been a bit inconsistent this season but has since recovered the starter’s role after Robin Lehner had a disappointing effort over the weekend against Carolina. Anderson will get the start here for the Sens as he goes up against Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Blue Jackets have been one of the game’s hottest teams and before Monday’s encounter with the Hurricanes (a game in which they’re leading 2-0 at the moment) they had won eight of their last 10 contests and have jumped up the Eastern Conference standings. Columbus is a team that many thought would be pushed over the edge this season into playoff contention after they had a very strong second half last year that fell just short of qualification and while they started slow they have more than made up for it in the last few weeks. The mission now is to maintain their strong play through the final stretch of the year and get into a playoff position where they can game plan beyond that goal from there. The Jackets have been playing very well and to me match up quite well against a Senators team who lacks offensive depth and will be in tough here against a runaway train. I like Columbus to win on home ice while Ottawa’s struggles continue.