NHL Betting: Handicap shouldn't stop Blue Jackets from wrapping up win


New York Islanders - Columbus - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 17.05

A five-day layoff for the Islanders has given them plenty of time to go over a 6-0 thrashing handed to them by Minnesota, there's far more to work on than their shortcomings that night though as all in all it's five wins from the past 18 games. Jack Capuano's men are now coming close to being mathematically eliminated.

In the absence of John Tavares and also little play-off hope nobody could accuse Kyle Okposo of playing without some serious heart, he had eight points in four games before Tuesday's defeat but an injury picked up in practice yesterday might add the winger to an already damaging injury list.

It's been disappointing for the Blue Jackets lately with their inability to win back-to-back, going four out of five on their travels this month suggests they need a few more road games and on paper Nassau Coliseum is the NHL's least formidable arena. For me Columbus should be strong enough to exploit the weaknesses of this currently frail Islanders team and go three for three against them for the year.

 

Pittsburgh - St Louis - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 17.05

The Penguins survived a topsy-turvy game with Tampa Bay yesterday to get to the brink of securing playoff spot even though it's looked a formality they would do so for a while, whilst at the same time on the other side of the state St Louis were dropping to a 4-1 loss in Philadelphia.

James Neal's concussion absence was shorter than expected and he rattled home the winner in OT, with the NHL's best man advantage coming through once again and the Blues would do well to minimise its opportunities, though both clubs are very good with special teams in general.

It might just be a case of keeping Marc-Andre Fleury well rested after a bad week but backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff has deservedly been seeing some extra starts, Fleury is back in net here but you can bet the heat will be on him as soon as play-off hockey begins.

More recent evidence that the Blues aren't as offensively explosive as a couple of months ago might ease his worries, since the Olympics they are averaging under two goals a game out on the road. As only one Western club has managed to leave Consol Energy Center with two points all season - value is with Pittsburgh here at 2.30.

 

Best Bet: Columbus Blue Jackets over a -1.5 handicap at 3.25