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National Hockey League action on Thursday evening and a pair of Central Division foes will square off as the Carolina Hurricanes grapple with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Carolina took game one of this set by a score of 3-0 to even up the season series at three games apiece.
Alex Nedeljkovic Continues To PLay Well
The Carolina Hurricanes have been one of the better teams in the league all year, but they did enter their game on Tuesday night having lost three in a row. That included two games at home to the Blue Jackets. This is a four-game set between these teams, and the scene has shifted from Carolina to Columbus. The Canes have played well on the road, and it continued with a 3-0 win in game three of this set. Carolina is currently in 2nd place in the Central and five points behind the Lightning. Prior to the last four games, the Canes had won eight in a row, and they averaged 4.00 gpg through the first seven games of that win streak. Since then, the Canes have averaged just 2.2 gpg in their last five. They are hoping to get their offense back on track here.
Shutout No. ✌ for Ned pic.twitter.com/BFW6NWKo9r
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 23, 2021
Scoring in the win was Brady Skjei, which was his 1st of the year, Jesper Fast, which was his 4th, and Martin Necas, which was his 6th.Tossing the shutout was Alex Nedeljkovic, who is having quite a season so far. He stopped all 19 shots he faced for his 2nd shutout of the year. Nedeljkovic is now 7-4 with a 1.96 GAA on the year. He has allowed a total of 12 goals in his last eight games. You have to wonder if Petr Mrazek will get his job back once he comes back in early April. James Reimer is slated to get the call in this one, and he has gone 12-5 with a 2.68 GAA on the year, including 6-3 with a 3.08 GAA on the road. He is 88-93 with a 2.89 GAA on the road and 4-11 with a 3.64 GAA against the Blue Jackets in his career.
Team Stats & Rankings: Carolina enters this contest ranked 9th in scoring at 3.23 gpg, 6th in shots per game at 31.5, and 1st in power-play conversions at 30.6%. At the defensive end of the ice, they are ranked 7th in goals allowed at 2.48 gpg, 9th in shots per game allowed at 28.7, and 9th in penalty kill at 82.9%.
The Offensive Woes Continue
The Columbus Blue Jackets are not going to be playoff bound this year unless they are able to fix their offense. The Jackets were blanked 3-0 on Tuesday by the Canes, and they have now failed to score more than three goals in regulation, eight times in their last nine games. Columbus has averaged just 1.92 gpg over their last 13 games, and they have now been shutout three times on the year. The goaltending has been weak for most of the year, and they just haven’t had enough offense to make up for it. Still, The Blue Jackets have allowed just 2.20 gpg over their last five games.
“We gotta be ready to go from the start … be better with our energy and our compete level.” – Boone pic.twitter.com/KGmvKWgvRT
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 24, 2021
Columbus is currently in 15th place in the Central Division and 17 points out of first. They are just 5-10 in their last 15 games. The Blue Jackets have just four players with more than five goals on the year, and they have been led by Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson, who each have 11. Bjorkstand leads the team in points with 27.Joonas Korpisalo took the loss in game three of this set after allowing three goals on 28 shot attempts to fall to 8-15 with a 2.98 GAA on the year, including 3-9 with a 2.99 GAA here at home. He has gone 37-35 with a 2.72 GAA in his home games and 6-5 with a 2.80 GAA against the Hurricanes in his career.
Team Stats & Rankings: Columbus enters this contest ranked 25th in scoring at 2.55 gpg, 25th in shots per game at 28.7, and 26th in power-play conversions at 14.8%. At the defensive end of the ice, they are ranked 22nd in goals allowed at 3.12, 21st in shots per game allowed at 31.2, and 26th in penalty kill at 74.0%.
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- 3-8 in their last 11 games playing on 2 days rest
- 2-9 in their last 11 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game
- 7-1 in their last 8 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game
- 71-33 in their last 104 games as a favorite
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Carolina Hurricanes have been struggling a bit of late but so have the Blue Jackets. Carolina lost both games at home in this four-game series but they bounced back with a 3.-0 win in game three and have now gone 11-6 on the road. The Canes are also 6-1 in their last seven as a road favorite. Both teams have struggled to score of late but Carolina has a huge edge in the crease. James Reimer has had a strong season so far and Joonas Korpisalo has gone 8-15 with a 2.98 GAA on the year. He has not had a good season and the offense won’t be there to bail him out in this one. Take the Canes tonight.
Want another opinion on this pick?
Full-Game Total Pick
The Blue Jackets have struggled in the crease for much of the year but they have played a bit better of late, allowing just 2.20 gpg over their last five games. the Canes have been solid in the crease all year as they are 7th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.48 gpg so far, including just 1.90 gpg over their last 10 games. Carolina has struggled on offense of late, averaging just 2.20 gpg over their last five games and a mediocre 2.94 gpg on the road. Columbus comes in averaging just 1.92 gpg over their last 13 games and I do not see them putting up more than two in this one. This has the feel of a 3-2 game. Lastly, the Under is 9-2-1 in the last 12 meetings between these teams in Columbus, and that seals the deal for me.