Tuesday Night POWER-HOUSE (on NBC Sports) ~ Won w/ St. Louis yday!
Boston vs. Columbus,
04/02/2019 19:00 EDT,
Score: 6 - 2
Money Line: -134 Columbus
8* Columbus (7:05 ET): Playoff spots are starting to be filled in the Eastern Conference where five teams have now clinched. We know one of the spots will go to whomever finishes third in the Metro. Then comes the two Wild Cards. Currently fourth in the Metro, Columbus is finally playing like a team that wants to compete for the Stanley Cup. They are three points back of Pittsburgh for third place, but more pressing is that two teams (Carolina & Montreal) are within two points in the Wild Card. It's very likely Pittsburgh makes the playoffs, so that means among the other three (C-bus, Carolina, Montreal), one team is going to be the "odd man out." The Blue Jackets need this game badly. I'll take 'em.
As I already mentioned, the Blue Jackets have won five straight. The win streak couldn't be more timely given what's at stake. But all its done (for now) is put them in the top Wild Card spot. This is a team far too talented to miss the playoffs, IMO. They've finally started to play up to their potential in these last five games, outscoring the opposition 24-4 w/ three shutouts. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is playing exceptionally well of late w/ a .957 save percentage his L11 starts, stopping 309 of 323 shots. He leads the league w/ nine shutouts this year, the latest being a 38-save effort at Buffalo on Sunday. Four of those nine shutouts have come in his L7 starts! This is the time of year you want your goalie to be peaking and that's precisely what Columbus is getting right now.
Boston is playing like a team that's already wrapped up a playoff berth. Though they've yet to clinch it, it's exceedingly likely the Bruins will have home ice advantage in their first round playoff series w/ Toronto. The last two games have resulted in losses to non-playoff teams Florida (4-1) and Detroit (6-3). The Bruins are a subpar road team anyway (18-15-6) and the home team captured both meetings when these teams faced off twice last month. Considering the way Bobrovsky and the Jackets have been playing, I can't help but back them. 8* Columbus