Two nights after having their 19-game point streak snapped with a loss in Pittsburgh, the Boston Bruins hope to start another streak tonight when they visit the desperate Columbus Blue Jackets. Boston’s 15-0-4 surge pushed the B’s four points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second spot in the Atlantic Division, a perch the Bruins hope to maintain in order to enjoy home-ice advantage over Toronto in the first round of the playoffs. Columbus can’t be quite as picky with its playoff positioning, needing every point it can get right now in order to fend off the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers for the final wild card spot in the East.
Columbus is playing its second game in as many nights, coming off a 2-0 loss at the Islanders on Monday. That was the second time in three games — and third in six — that the Blue Jackets have been blanked, and it won’t be easy to break out of the offensive slump against the stingy Bruins. During its 19-game point streak, Boston allowed just 41 goals, averaging slightly over 2 goals allowed per game.
This is the first meeting between these teams in nearly an entire calendar year. Columbus won two of three meetings from the Bruins last year, although Boston was 1-0-2 against the Jackets since both of Columbus’ victories came in overtime.
The most obvious play here is the Under, given Columbus’ most recent scoring woes and how good the Bruins have been in their own end. With the total set at 6 and just -110 juice on the Under, there appears to be value in taking this game to go low — but that value actually looks a little bit too good to be true. The Blue Jackets’ game last night had a total of 5.5 and with Columbus going Under the number in five of its last six, I’m curious why the bookies upticked this number to 6 tonight. Maybe it’s because the Over is 7-0 in the last seven meetings, a trend I’m not eager to step in front of.
The better value looks to be on the Blue Jackets, who we can get at virtually even money here. Columbus has been a favorite of -130 or higher in three of its last four home games versus the B’s, but Boston’s recent hot streak and the Blue Jackets’ recent slump has moved this number down to a nice number on Columbus.
Columbus is the much more desperate team while the Bruins may let down a bit after their lengthy point streak. I’m picking the Blue Jackets on the moneyline at -115.