Columbus Blue Jackets (12-14-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (20-10-1)
|Date & Time||Monday December 9, 2013, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -237 / Columbus Blue Jackets +214 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Blue Jackets look for their third straight victory as they head into Pittsburgh on Monday night while the home town Pens look to avenge a loss in their last outing.
The Blue Jackets are a team many had as a playoff contender this season after they finished the year strong last season and narrowly missed the postseason but so far the bar hasn’t been met and the Jackets sit in 7th place in their division. Columbus does have the reigning Vezina Trophy winner in Sergei Bobrovsky manning the crease but he has since gone down with a knee injury and now the goaltending duties will be left in the hands of Curtis McIlhenny. The Jackets have found success against some of the game’s better teams this season but as a newcomer to the Eastern Conference they don’t have a ton of familiarity with the Penguins and they might be in over their heads a bit here. Columbus has played well in their last two contests and McIlhenny played very well in his last outing but the novelty of being the interim starter may be worn off and the Pens are a team that will exploit that.
The Penguins head into Monday night’s contest with the Blue Jackets looking to avenge a loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday in what was surely an ugly affair between the Eastern Conference foes. Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik was taken down by a cheapshot from Bruins forward Shawn Thornton and will be sidelined indefinitely while forward James Neal who has become a huge part of the Pittsburgh offense will likely be suspended for his knee to the head of Bruins forward Brad Marchand. All things considered the Penguins deserved a better fate on Saturday night but gave up a crucial point with 13 seconds remaining to lose the game and now they must refocus for a Columbus team gaining momentum. The Pens are massive favourites here and these have been trap spots all season but I don’t see the Jackets keeping pace with the Pens here. I like Pittsburgh to respond in a big way and I’ll take them in regulation plus the over.