No question the most important game in the NHL on Thursday night is this matchup between the Canadiens and Blue Jackets from Columbus. It seems likely that the final wild-card spot in the East will come down to those two clubs, and the Jackets are favored on the NHL betting lines here for an important two points.
Canadiens vs Blue Jackets NHL Spread & Pick for Thursday Night
- When: Thursday, 7 PM ET
- Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus
- TV: NHL Center Ice
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
- NHL Spread: Columbus Blue Jackets -1.5 (Total 5.5)
The Habs look for the three-game sweep. The teams last met Feb. 19 in Montreal and it was a 3-2 decision. Tomas Tatar scored in the third period to lift Montreal and end the team’s four-game losing streak at the time. Paul Byron and Max Domi also scored, and Carey Price made 31 saves. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 shots, and Josh Anderson and Nick Foligno scored for Columbus. The Blue Jackets were playing the second game of a back-to-back and without star forward Artemi Panarin, who sat out due to illness.
Why Bet on Montreal?
The Canadiens are in the second wild-card spot, one point behind Carolina and two points ahead of Columbus. Both the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes have a game in hand on Montreal.
The Habs won for the fourth time in five games Tuesday, 6-1 over Florida. Tomas Tatar scored two goals and an assist. Both of Tatar’s goals came in the first period, as the first one gave his team a 1-0 lead, while his second of the night made it 3-0. He also picked up a helper on linemate Phillip Danault’s tally in the middle frame which made it 5-0. Tatar has now put up two three-point efforts in his last three outings. The 28-year-old is up to 25 goals and a career-high 57 points in 75 games this season.
Max Domi got his 27th goal of the season in the win. He has collected three goals and three assists in his last five outings. Domi is having a career year with 68 points through 77 contests. Phillip Danault ended a 20-game goalless drought with his 12th marker of the season. Despite his recent struggles, Danault still has a personal best 49 points in 76 matches this year.
Carey Price turned aside 33 of 34 shots. The 31-year-old has now gone five games without a loss in regulation (4-0-1) and he’s allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last eight games. Price owns a 33-22-6 record with a 2.49 goals-against-average and a .918 save percentage this season.
Paul Byron left in the first period and did not return after being dropped to the ice in a fight with MacKenzie Weegar. Byron took an uppercut to the jaw before wobbling off the ice with the help of a trainer. The fight was retaliation for Byron hitting and concussing Weegar on Jan. 15. Byron didn’t even travel with the team to Columbus.
- Goals: 3.03
- Shots: 33.70
- PP/PK Percentage: 12.44
- Goals: 2.86
- Shots: 31.06
- PP/PK Percentage: 19.41
Why Bet on Columbus?
The Jackets have won back-to-back games by a combined score of 9-0. It was 4-0 over the Islanders on Tuesday. Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside all 26 shots he faced. Bobrovsky is starting to round into form at the right time, as he’s now posted back-to-back shutouts and he’s blanked the opposition in three of his last four outings. He now has four wins in his last five games. Bobrovsky owns a 33-23-1 record with a 2.62 goals-against-average and a .912 save percentage this season. It was the eighth shutout of the season for the Russian, a career high.
“He told me a couple of weeks ago he is good mentally, he is good physically,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “He’s been good for a while now, and he’s going to have to keep on being better because we have to get on his shoulders as we go through these last half dozen games.”
Artemi Panarin found the back of the net during Tuesday’s win. Panarin put an end to his 12-game goal drought when he scored a breakaway goal early in the third period to make it 2-0 for his team. That was the Russian forward’s only shot on goal in the game. The 27-year-old now has 26 goals and 78 points in 73 games this season. Ryan Dzingel, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Cam Atkinson also scored for Columbus.
Forward Nick Foligno returned after missing four games to be with his family. His 22-month-old son, Hudson, was seriously ill with pneumonia. Top defenseman Zach Werenski suffered what looked like a leg injury in the third period of Tuesday’s game. Werenski and Islanders’ Scott Mayfield collided, and Werenski missed the rest of the contest. Any time he misses would be a huge blow to Columbus.
- Goals: 3.05
- Shots: 31.45
- PP/PK Percentage: 15.53
- Goals: 2.87
- Shots: 29.51
- PP/PK Percentage: 15.46
Canadiens vs Blue Jackets NHL Betting Trends
- Home team is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings
- Under is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings
- Montreal is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
- Montreal is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Montreal’s last 6 games on the road
- Columbus is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home
- Columbus is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Columbus’s last 6 games at home
Expert Final Prediction for Canadiens vs Blue Jackets
Montreal Canadiens 2 – Columbus Blue Jackets