Columbus Blue Jackets (2-3-0) at Montreal Canadiens (4-2-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday October 17, 2013, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Montreal Canadiens -163 / Columbus Blue Jackets +148 --- Over/Under: 5
The Columbus Blue Jackets look to end a two game slide as they head into the Bell Centre to square off against the Canadiens who have won three in a row.
The Blue Jackets have been a league doormat for the last handful of seasons but last year they made a stride towards respectability as they almost qualified for the Western Conference postseason and had the league’s best goaltender as voted on by hockey professionals. In the offseason, the Jackets brought in some new faces and now they have expectations to not only qualify for the playoffs but to do some damage in the process and shock the hockey world. Marian Gaborik leads the way offensively but the Jackets are actually quite deep up front and have a lot of young talent led by Cam Atkinson. Defensively and between the pipes Columbus is solid but they still need to find a way to string together some consistency if they want to be considered a threat in the East.
The Canadiens worked wonders on their road trip as they won their final three contests in Western Canada that included wins over Vancouver, Edmonton, and Winnipeg, all of which are very tough teams to beat on the road. The Habs received some stellar netminding from Carey Price who is likely to get the call once again here against the Jackets and if he can continue putting up solid numbers between the pipes than the Canadiens should have no trouble making the postseason and perhaps improving on last year’s disappointment to the Senators. While the Bell Centre is a very tough place to play for opposing teams I think that plays a role a little more when the opponent has a history with the Canadiens, like the Maple Leafs, Bruins, and Senators and while the Bell Centre faithful will still be loud I don’t see them getting as riled up for the Columbus Blue Jackets. As such, I think this game becomes a little more even and I’m willing to lay it down with the Jackets at a great price against a Canadiens team heading home after a long road trip and will be without one of its best players in Max Pacioretty.