Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Florida Panthers - 12/31/19 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Photo by Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Florida Panthers (20-13-5) at Columbus Blue Jackets (17-14-8)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 7:00 pm (Nationwide Arena)
The Line: Columbus Blue Jackets -115 / Florida Panthers -105 --- Over/Under: 6 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The Florida Panthers and the Columbus Blue Jackets meet in NHL action from the Nationwide Arena on Tuesday night.
The Florida Panthers will look to build on back-to-back wins after a 6-5 win over the Montreal Canadiens last time out. Noel Acciari and Aleksander Barkov staked the Panthers and early 2-0 lead with a pair of goals 1:59 apart before Montreal pulled a goal back later in the period. Montreal surged ahead 3-2 with a pair of goals in a span of :52 early in the 2nd before Barkov tied the game for the Panthers just 1:29 after that. Jonathan Huberdeau pushed Florida in front 5-3 with a pair of goals :35 apart, before Mike Matheson made it 6-3 just :45 into the 3rd period. Montreal cut the deficit to 6-4 just 3:26 later and made it interesting at 6-5 with under two minutes to play, but ultimately it was too little too late as Florida held on for the win despite being outshot 43-34 in the game and 18-13 in the 3rd period. Sergei Bobrovsky got the win to improve to 14-10-4 on the year after stopping 38 of 43 shots faced in the winning effort.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will look to bounce back from back-to-back losses after a 3-2 loss to Chicago in a shootout last time out. Riley Nash and Pierre-Luc Dubois gave Columbus a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play and held onto the lead through the 2nd and into the 3rd but Chicago would tie the game with just over two minutes to go in the final frame, sending the game to some extra hockey. Overtime solved nothing, so it was off to the shootout where Chicago scored on both of their shootout attempts while Columbus scored on just one of three, giving the win and the extra point to Chicago. Elvis Merzlikinswas the hard luck loser, taking the OT loss to fall to 0-4-4 after Joonas Korpisalo left the game injured after the first shootout attempt, forcing MErzlikins to go into the game cold and give up the shootout winner to Patrick Kane.
Florida is 5-1 in their last 6 games overall and 8-3 in their last 11 games against a team with a losing record while the over is 4-1-1 in their last 6 games against the Eastern Conference. Columbus is 5-2 in their last 7 games overall and 4-1 in their last 5 games against the Eastern Conference while the under is 4-0 in their last 4 games against a team with a winning record. Florida is 7-19 in the last 26 meetings between these two teams and 1-11 in the last 12 meetings between these two teams in Columbus.
I think the Blue Jackets would be a logical pick considering that they’ve played their best at home and have pretty much owned the Panthers over the years. However, the loss of Korpisalo really hurts Columbus as I don’t really have faith in Elvis Merzlikins as a reliable goaltender. Florida has a lot of talent and is 2nd in the league in goals per game and I think the Panthers can exorcise some demons against Columbus here so I’ll side with Florida to get the win on the road.