St. Louis Blues vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Free Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Nationwide Arena will play host to an East-West matchup as the St. Louis Blues take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. It’s the final time that the two clubs will go at it in the regular season. Fox Sports Ohio will air the game, and the puck drops at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 24.

St. Louis Blues at Columbus Blue Jackets Odds

Columbus comes into the contest as the heavy favorite with a -150 moneyline. The line for St. Louis sits at +130, and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals (-130 money on the under, +110 on the over). After originally opening at -110 for either, those O/U odds have shifted.

Earning 2.9 units for moneyline bettors, the Blue Jackets are 42-33 straight up (SU) overall this year. That winning percentage, ranked 2nd in the Metropolitan Division in this young season, is a regression from the 50-32 record that the team managed during the 2016-17 season campaign. 39 of the teams 75 matches have gone under the total, while 35 have gone over and just one has pushed. The teams 25-13 SU at home this year.

Columbus has converted on just 15.4 percent of its power play chances this season, a mark that’s ranked 30th overall in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill is rated 25th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 77.3 percent of all penalties.

Columbus, as a collective unit, has been whistled for penalties just 3.0 times per game overall this season, 3.4 per game over its last five outings total, and 2.6 per game over its last five home outings. The team has had to kill penalties for just 6.2 minutes per game over its last 10 matchups, in total.

Averaging 28.1 saves per game with a .922 save percentage, Sergei Bobrovsky (34 wins, 26 losses, and five OT losses) has been the primary option in goal for the Blue Jackets this season. If they choose to give him a rest, however, the team could turn to Joonas Korpisalo (8-8-8 record, .902 save percentage, 3.23 goals against average).

The Jackets will continue to look for leadership from Artemi Panarin and Seth Jones. Panarin (69 points) is up to 25 goals and 44 assists and has recorded multiple points 14 times this year. Jones has 15 goals and 35 assists to his name and has notched at least one point in 36 contests.

On the other side of the rink, St. Louis is 41-33 straight up (SU) and has lost 0.2 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 74 regular season matches, 43 of its games have gone under the total, while 29 have gone over and just one has pushed. As an away team, St. Louis is 18-18 SU.

St. Louis has converted on just 15.6 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a mark that’s ranked 30th in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 17th overall and it’s successfully killed off 80.4 percent of all penalties.

St. Louis skaters have been penalized only 3.4 times per game this season, and 2.2 per game over their last five contests. The teams had to kill penalties just 6.6 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Jake Allen (.906 save percentage and 2.72 goals against average) has been the primary option in goal for St. Louis. Allen is averaging 24.8 saves per game and has 25 wins, 27 losses, and two OT losses to his credit.

Brayden Schenn (25 goals, 37 assists) and Vladimir Tarasenko (28 goals, 31 assists) have been standout playmakers for St. Louis and will pace the offensive attack for the visiting Blues.

St. Louis Blues at Columbus Blue Jackets Free Picks

NHL Pick: SU Winner – Blue Jackets, O/U – Over

Betting Notes

  • Columbus is 6-4 in games decided by a shootout this season while St. Louis is 3-0 in shootouts.
  • The over has hit in three of Columbus last five games.
  • Columbus has averaged 2.9 goals per game overall this season, but is averaging 4.2 per contest in its past 10 games (the teams a perfect 4-0 SU over that streak).
  • Six of Columbus last ten contests have been decided by two or more goals. The team is 6-0 overall in those games.
  • St. Louis skaters have dished out the 10th-most hits in the league (22.9 per game).