Columbus Blue Jackets at New Jersey Devils
It's been a feature of their season but Columbus have again slipped into an extended losing streak. It's seven games since the Jackets bagged a victory and even more worrying has been the manner of the defeats. They're also depleted from selling off James Wisniewski and their injury curse has struck again with David Clarkson already being ruled out for the rest of the season. After being closely matched for most of the season Jersey have taken 13 points from 16 and opened up an eight point gap on their Metro Division foes. It's certainly not hurting the reputation of interim coaching duo Adam Oates and Scott Stevens although if only one of them gets the full job next year that's going to be tough decision.
Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky started for the first time since March on Tuesday but couldn't stop an onslaught from Washington. In the two meetings this season the Devils have ground out a pair of victories and the Jackets are simply making too many errors to match them in another defensive struggle. Certainly take New Jersey to win at 2.18 and consider the -1.5 goal handicap for a 3.05 win.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks
Pittsburgh had a tough night on Wednesday away at Colorado and I think they're in for another loss tonight. It's four victories in a row for Anaheim and they've taken back the league lead from Nashville as a result. It bodes well for the Ducks' playoff hopes that they're playing much more convincing hockey now rather than edging so many one goal games as they were earlier in the season. The two teams exchanged defenceman a few days ago and it's a chance for Simon Despres and Ben Lovejoy to show up their former teams.
Jakub Silfverberg has been moved up to Ryan Kesler's second line and coach Bruce Boudreau has to be happy with eight points combined from them in the last four outings. Unfortunately for them Evgeni Malkin can top them on his own after a deadly trio of performances last week and it's up to Kesler as well as Ryan Getzlaf to play a diligent defensive game against the Russian. If they do that I think the Ducks will get it done and for me the value is with the home side here too at 2.30.
Best Bet: New Jersey Devils to win at 2.18