Tampa Bay Lightning (27-14-4) at Columbus Blue Jackets (21-20-4)
|Date & Time||Monday January 13, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
|Location||Unknown Location Unknown Address|
The Line: Columbus Blue Jackets -116 / Tampa Bay Lightning +105 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
The Lightning look to take over top spot in the Atlantic division win a win in Columbus on Monday while the Jackets look for their fourth win in a row.
The Lightning continue to impress this regular season as the shorthanded Bolts are a win away from jumping into a tie for top spot in the Atlantic division with the Boston Bruins. Tampa Bay is a team that many expected to be a borderline playoff contender at the beginning of the year and that was with a healthy Steven Stamkos as skeptics questioned their offensive depth and overall direction of the team. However, the Bolts are more than a contender as they’re a fringe division leader and have had some special seasons from a number of different players who have come together to make Tampa Bay one of the hardest teams to play against. Ben Bishop is putting up silly numbers in the Tampa crease and while he will likely be on the bench tonight in favour of Anders Lindback you have to give credit where it’s due and Bishop certainly deserves it. Martin St. Louis continues to turn back the clock as the veteran forward continues to put up points just a season removed from winning the Art Ross and with his snub of the Olympic team fresh in his mind you can be sure he will be playing some inspired hockey the rest of the year.
The Blue Jackets are turning a corner after struggling out of the gates in what was supposed to be their breakthrough season in the Eastern Conference and have a chance to lock down their fourth win in a row here tonight. Columbus has a decent roster up front led by Marian Gaborik but his injury issues have been a tough pill to swallow for a fan base that saw beloved forward Rick Nash leave the team in a trade deadline move a couple seasons ago. Nathan Horton is now back in the lineup after he missed the first half of the year with an injury as well but with his presence the Jackets certainly have more grit and heart in their lineup and they seem to be responding to that at the moment. Sergei Bobrovsky is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and while he has struggled at times this year he appears to have regained his form and gives the Jackets their best chance to win every time he is between the pipes. Despite the large separation in the standings between these two teams I think they’re a lot closer in terms of overall talent and with the goaltending edge here going to the Jackets I think they are the play here to get heir fourth straight.