Columbus Blue Jackets at Florida Panthers

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The Columbus Blue Jackets continue to struggle. Columbus is 7th in the Central Division at 15-22-9 with 39 points. The Blue Jackets are only one point ahead of last-place Detroit and are seven points behind their closest competitor the sixth-place Dallas Stars. Columbus has lost five straight and eight of the last nine with only a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning during that span. Columbus was defeated by the Dallas Stars 5-1 in their most recent game on Saturday. The Blue Jackets blue line and goalie allowed four goals during the second period that blew open a close game.

Florida has struggled slightly over its last five games as the Panthers have won two and lost three, but Florida is second in the Central division at 28-12-5 and trails first-place Carolina by just one point. The Panthers are one point ahead of third-place Tampa Bay. Speaking of Tampa Bay, Florida defeated the Lightning 5-3 on Saturday in their most recent game. Brandon Montour, Jonathan Huberdeau and Patric Hornqvist each scored during the first period and the Panthers held off the Lightning to win.

Columbus needs help putting the puck in the net

Columbus is scoring an average of just 2.43 goals per game and during its current five-game losing streak has scored a total of 12 goals for an average of 2.40 goals per game. The leading goal scorers for Columbus are Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson with 14 goals each. Jack Roslovic is the leader in assists for the Blue Jackets with 20 and the overall points leader is Bjorkstrand with 33, while Atkinson and Roslovic each have 29. The Columbus power play has produced only 14 goals through 46 games and is scoring only 13.7% of the time with the man advantage.

Columbus is equally poor at the blue line and in goal. The Blue Jackets are allowing an average of 3.28 goals per game and during their current five-game losing streak are allowing an average of 4.60 goals per game. The Columbus penalty-kill unit has been below average as the Blue Jackets are holding opponents scoreless only 78.6% of the time when Columbus is short-handed. Joonas Korpisalo is 9-12-7 with a 3.21 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.

Injury Report: Emil Bernstrom and Brandon Dubinsky are out indefinitely, while Gustav Nyquist, Zach Werenski and Boone Jenner are out for the season.

Florida’s success starts in goal

Florida Panthers are allowing an average of 2.69 goals per game and the penalty-kill unit has been successful 80.8% of the time the Panthers are short-handed. Much of that success is thanks to the recent play of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The Russian netminder is 16-7-2 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. Bobrovsky shares duties with Chris Driedger, who is 12-5-3 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

The Panthers are also having plenty of success in the attacking zone as Florida is scoring an average of 3.16 goals per game, while the power play has been nothing more than average as the Panthers score 21.9% of the time with the man advantage. The leading goal scorer for Florida is Aleksander Barkov with 18 and Carter Verhaeghe is second with 17 goals. Jonathan Huberdeau is the leader for Florida in assists with 30 and is tied with Barkov for the overall points lead with 45 each.

Injury Report: Noel Acciari is questionable for Monday, while Carter Verhaeghe is out indefinitely and Aaron Ekblad is out for the season.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Florida is battling at the top of the Central Division with both Carolina and Tampa Bay for first place, while Columbus is battling against Detroit to stay out of the division basement. Florida has won each of its last 5 on its home ice and eight of its last 12 overall. Columbus struggles against Florida as the Blue Jackets have lost five in the last six against the Panthers. Florida has improved in goal as Sergei Bobrovsky has played exceptionally well since returning from an injury and has lowered his goals-against average to 2.86, while earlier this season before being injured the Russian had a 3.78 GAA. Columbus is scoring an average of only 2.43 goals this season and over the last five games, of which all five were losses, the Blue Jackets are allowing an average of 4.60 calls per game.

Prediction:
Florida Panthers -1.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The Florida Panthers will attack the Columbus blue line and goalie early and maintain pressure throughout. Columbus is allowing an average of 4.60 goals per game over its last five games played and Florida Is scoring an average of 3.16 goals this season. The total has finished over in four of Florida’s last 6 games head-to-head against Columbus. The total has also finished over in 5 of the Blue Jackets’ last six games overall.

Prediction:
OVER 5.5