NHL Preview – Ottawa Senators @ Columbus Blue Jackets

NHL Preview – Ottawa Senators @ Columbus Blue Jackets

12am) Ottawa Senators @ Columbus Blue Jackets

A thin mid-week schedule on this Wednesday evening kicks off with an already high odds Eastern Conference interdivisional tilt. This fixture pits Canada against America as the winless Columbus Blue Jackets seek to finally kickstart their season. They play host to the travelling Senators of Ottawa who will be keen to build on their unbeaten road record so far this season.

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Following a year of playoff and even Stanley Cup contention, the Blue Jackets will have been upset to have missed the playoffs last year after a mediocre season in a mediocre division. This was in part to bad goal support despite the strong blue line. They addressed this in the offseason, bringing in high powered forward Brandon Saad from Chicago. They’ve got off to a bad start however, sitting bottom of the Metropolitan division. With no injury woes, the Jackets will be hoping that starting tendy Sergei Bobrovsky can return to form after a torrid start. Regularly considered one of the elite goaltenders in the league, Bobrovsky has only mustered a 4.66 GAA and .850 SV% this season, really out of character for the Russian. The Jackets managed 11 wins in 24 contests against Atlantic teams last season, only one win from three against the Sens.

The Ottawa Senators made a triumphant return to playoff Hockey last season after years of mediocrity, squeezing in on the final day of regular season. This was in part due to the fantastic goaltending heroics of Andrew Hammond who underlined himself as one of the elite netminders in the league last season. Although they bowed out in the first round, they won two games against the number one seeded Montreal Canadiens and really tested them. The Senators are anchoring fourth in the Atlantic division. The only injury worry is Andrew Hammond who was struggling with a groin injury but returned to practice on Tuesday and is expected to start against the Jackets. Hammond hasn’t yet started this season but managed a fabulous 1.79 GAA and 0.944 SV% last season. The Senators got 10 wins from 24 against Metropolitan opposition last season, earning two wins from three against the Jackets.

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As I discussed earlier, the Columbus Blue Jackets were one of the teams I thought approaching this season would be one of the serious challengers to the Eastern Conference title because the young squad full of offensive threats, defensive walls and one of the best goaltenders in the league made for a good combination. However that prediction has so far fell flat as the Jackets have lost all three games, coming off the loss against the Sabres where Bobrovsky allowed four goals against a team who always struggled offensively. During this sluggish stage, it’s simply hard to back the Senators to inflict any serious damage, especially against a team with Hammond in net who really lit up the NHL last season. I have no doubts that will continue this season and for that reason, I’m backing the more consistent team in this contest. Senators to get their third win from three on the road this season.

Dan Glozier.

Categories: NHL, NHL Tips, Preview

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