Ottawa Senators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
NHL Betting Pick: Columbus -170 odds (January 19th 2017)
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The set-up: The 23-15-4 Ottawa Senators are on the road to take on the 30-9-4 Columbus blue Jackets on Thursday night. Ottawa opened a three-game road trip with a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday and will be looking for its fourth win in five games.Columbus saw its 16-game run end with a shutout loss to the Washington Capitals back on Jan. 5 and has alternated wins and losses over its last six games.
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Ottawa: The Senators have won five of their last seven games with Columbus but Ottawa defenseman Dion Phaneuf realizes this is not the same Blue Jackets team that has reached the playoffs only twice in franchise history. “They’re at the top of the standings for a reason,” he said. “They play hard, they play with speed, they play with structure.” The Senators have rediscovered their offense during the recent surge that’s come after a four-game skid from Dec. 27 to Jan. 7. Ottawa has 17 goals over the last four games, with 15 coming in the three wins. “We’ve asked our players to improve since Christmas at driving the net and paying the price around the net and we certainly did that with the goals that we had,” Senators head coach Guy Boucher said of the power surge.
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Columbus: Jenner and Dubinsky scored 35 seconds apart late in the first period to erase a one-goal deficit and Columbus went on to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Tuesday. Jenner, a 30-goal scorer in 2015-16, has only nine in 43 games. However, he’s scored in each of his last three games and has three in his last three games versus Ottawa. With Jenner starting to come around, a more welcome sight for Columbus was goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s return after missing three games because of an illness. He finished with 24 saves for his league-leading 27th win. If the Blue Jackets are indeed for real and plan to make a deep playoff run, they will lean on Bobrovsky to lead the way. Bobrovsky may have the inside track to win his second Vezina Trophy (27-6-2 on the season with a 1.97 GAA & .932 save percentage) and if so, his outstanding play at Nationwide Arena might be the key. He has won his last nine home games, allowing only 12 goals for a 1.33 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. Overall at home, he is 16-3-0 with a 1.79 GAA, .940 save percentage.
The pick: Bobrovsky’s back between the pipes and Columbus has won 10 of its last 11 games at Nationwide Arena to improve to 17-4-1 at home this season, outscoring opponents 3.77-to-2.09 GPG. The Blue Jackets are the play.