Columbus Blue Jackets (18-17-3) at Toronto Maple Leafs (21-17-3)
|Date & Time||Friday January 9, 2015, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Toronto Maple Leafs -120 / Columbus Blue Jackets +109 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
The Maple Leafs desperately need to get back in the win column on Friday night as they host the Columbus Blue jackets at the ACC.
The Blue Jackets had a tough start to the year after expectations were sky high in the preseason but after a 7-2-1 stretch in their last 10 games they are back in the mix in the Metro division and are just eight points out of a playoff spot. Columbus does have some nice pieces and even though they were expected to take a huge step forward this season I still think they are a piece or two away from being relevant and they still have an uphill battle to get into the playoffs in the East this season. The Jackets have won back to back games and are above .500 on the road and catch the Leafs at a great time as they have dropped three in a row, eight of their last 10, and are undergoing some serious changes both on and off the ice. Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to get the start as he will go up against Jonathan Bernier for the Leafs.
Toronto was sitting pretty a few weeks back as they were the talk of the league and many were planning the parade route but a dismal two weeks has the Buds free falling in the East and are now 11 points back of the division leading Lightning. Toronto is in turmoil right now and it has blown over behind the bench as Randy Carlyle was let go earlier this week and much of the blame has fallen on top scorer Phil Kessel who many claim is an uncoachable talent. Toronto's first game without their bench boss resulted in a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the Capitals at the ACC and it left fans irate and looking for answers in what could be another lost season in TO. The good thing for Toronto here is that they don't have a game on Saturday so they can channel all of their energy into this game and while these are the contests the Leafs usually lose I think they absolutely must win this game and even if takes the shootout to do so I think they get it done.