NHL Hockey: Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers

The Columbus Blue Jackets were supposed to sink to the bottom of the league standings this season after losing a ton of frontline talent in free agency over the Summer. They also lost goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky who is one of the elite netminders in hockey. It hasn’t quite happened like that–the Jackets might not be dominating but they’ve been very competitive. They enter Saturday’s road game against the Philadelphia Flyers with a 5-3-2 record and 12 points. If the season ended today they’d have the top wild card spot in the East.

The Philadelphia Flyers, meanwhile, would be on the outside looking in. With a 4-3-1 record and 9 points they’re 3 points out of playoff eligibility and have been ‘consistently inconsistent’ all season long. They’ve done well at home going 3-1-0 winning against the Blackhawks, Devils and Golden Knights and losing to the Dallas Stars. Note that the game against the Blackhawks was considered a home game for Philadelphia but was played in Prague. They’ve struggled on the road with a 1-2-1 record and had lost 3 straight away from home to start the season until beating the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center last time out.

When former Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky left Columbus via free agency for Florida the team turned to his backup, Joonas Korpisalo as the new starter. Korpisalo might not be putting up Vezina winning numbers but like the rest of the team he’s been extremely competent at 5-2-1 with a 2.72 goals against average and a 0.901 save percentage. He’ll face 21 year old Carter Hart who has been tabbed as the Flyers’ ‘goalie of the future’. For the most part, he’s played well this year going 2-2-1 with a 2.59 goals against average and a 0.891 save percentage.

There’s a lot to like about Columbus in this game. They’ve been a very good road investment particularly in games expected to be high scoring. Over the past three seasons they’re +13.8 units in road games with a total of 6 or more. Philadelphia has lost money in most situations which strongly suggests that they’re overvalued by the betting public. They’re -11.7 units in the past three years overall, and a horrible -19.8 units in the first half of the season. They’re also -9.2 units against divisional rivals. Tough scheduling spot for Philly who played in Chicago on Thursday night, play at home on Saturday night and then play at the Islanders on Sunday.

Jackets have dominated in head to head play for years and enter on a 25-12-3 SU run in the series. They’ve won six of the last eight meetings overall including four straight and 3 of the last 4 in Philadelphia. No reason not to take a nice underdog price with the Blue Jackets in a game that should go ‘Over’ the total. All four games last season went ‘Over’ as have 13 of the last 17 in Philadelphia.


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