Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Blue Jackets are coming off only their second win of the season and face a rested Panthers team that had their last two games postponed due to COVID-19.

The Panthers have won their only two games, as they had their first two postponed to the pandemic and then had their last two games postponed as well. They were at home in their only two games where they beat the Chicago Blackhawks twice outscored them 10-6.

The Blue Jackets doubled their win total on the season winning their last game, which snapped their wo-game losing streak. While they are only 2-2-2 they are still tied atop the Central Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who they beat in their last game. The team had only scored two goals in two straight losses before putting up five goals against Tampa Bay in their last game.

Looking for Five Again

In the Panthers only two games of the season they beat the Chicago Blackhawks twice at home where in each game they scored five goals. In their last game they beat them 5-4 in OT where Patric Hornqvist and Carter Verhaeghe each scored twice and Frank Vatrano played the hero scoring the game-winner on his first goal of the season 2:50 into overtime. Florida was outshot in the game 36-30 and while they were 2-4 on the power play they allowed the Blackhawks to score two goals on their only two power play opportunities.

Sergei Bobrovsky came off IR to start his first game in the 5-4 win over the Blackhawks where he gave up four goals on 36 shots. Bacxkup Chris Driedger got the nid in the season opener giving up two goals on 30 shots in a 5-2 win over Chicago.

Patric Hornqvist has scored three goals in the first two games and he and Jonathan Huberdeau (1 goal 3 assists) each have three points.

Last season the Blue Jackets beat the Panthers twice with the home team winning all three games.

Taking it to the Champs

In their last game the Blue Jackets were at home beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay lightning 5-2 after losing to them in their previous game. They scored three unanswered goals in the first period after giving up the first one and did not allow a goal after the first period. Five different players lit the lamp for Columbus in the big win where they were outshot 32-28.

Elvis Merzlikins picked up his first win of the season in the win over the Lightning stopping 30 of 32 shots and he had given up eight goals in his first two starts.

Joonas Korpisalo (1-1-1` 2.34 GAA) may get the call in this game and he gave up three goals in his last start while giving up two apiece in his first two starts.

Alexandre Texier leads the team with three goals and is tied for the team lead with five points and has failed to score a goal after scoring one in each of his previous three games. Oliver Bjorkstrand also has five points with two goals and three assists and he went scoreless in the last game after picking up all five of his points in the previous three games.

Columbus is 1-1 at home this season with their only two games facing the Lightning.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The Blue Jackets have dominated the Panthers on home ice in the last several seasons winning 14 of their last 16 home games facing them. I look for that trend to continue in this game. The Blue Jackets are coming off a big win where they handed the defending champion Lighting their first loss of the season. They were solid on both sides of the ice in their last game and I look. For them to play well on home ice again. The Panthers may be a little rusty in this game, as they have had their last two postponed due to COVID-19. This game will be close but the Blue Jackets will continue their home dominance over the Panthers by beating them in this Central Division matchup.

Prediction:
Blue Jackets -120

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

I am leaning towards the Over in this game even though two key head-to-head betting trends point to the Under. Both teams put up five goals in their last games and I look for Columbus to have a solid attack in this game. They have had Florida’s number at home in the last several seasons and beat them at home in the lone meeting there where they scored four goals. I look for them to score a few goals in this game and while their D will play pretty well on home ice the Panthers will score at least two goals. This game will be a close one and not a low scoring one, which is why the Under is the pick.

Prediction:
Over 5.5 goals