Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators - 1/14/21 NHL Picks and Prediction
Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators (0-0) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (0-0)
Game Info: Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 8:00 pm (Bridgestone Arena)
Betting Odds: Nashville Predators -120 / Columbus Blue Jackets +100 --- Over/Under: 5.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Nashville Predators meet in NHL action from Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will look to build on a successful 2019-20 season that saw the Jackets finish the season with a record of 33-22-15, finishing 6th in the Metropolitan division and 9th in the Eastern Conference, just missing out on the top-8 spots in the conference, but with the expanded playoffs due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Columbus snuck in and made noise, defeating Toronto in the qualifying round before falling to the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the next round. The Blue Jackets are hoping to kickstart one of the lower-scoring offenses in the NHL by bringing in guys like Max Domi and Mikko Koivu to help with the scoring load while Pierre-Luc Dubois is back after leading Columbus with 49 points in the regular season last year and 10 points in the playoffs. Gus Nyquist and Zach Werenski are also back while Oliver Bjorkstrand returns after leading Columbus with 21 goals last season. Columbus is set in goal as well with the duo of Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins as the two combined for a stellar postseason run last year with Korpisalo owning a 1.90 GAA and .941 save percentage compared to Merzlikins’ 1.96 GAA and .946 save percentage.
The Nashville Predators will look to build on their own success in 2019-20, finishing the regular season with a record of 35-26-8, good for 4th in the Central division and 6th in the Western Conference, but Nashville’s stay in the bubble was short-lived as the Predators were upset by Arizona in the qualifying round of the playoffs. Roman Josi is back after leading Nashville with 65 points including a team-high 49 assists while Filip Forsberg had a team-high 21 goals and 48 points for Nashville. The Predators didn’t go big in terms of quality in the offseason, but brought in multiple key players like Nick Cousins, Brad Richardson, Luke Kunin, Erik Haula and Mark Borowiecki and Matt Benning to shore up the defense. The Predators also retain their goaltending tandem as it’s another season with Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros between the sticks for the Preds. Rinne went 18-14-4 in the regular season, but it was Saros that saw all of the playoff action with a 3.22 GAA and .895 save percentage in four postseason games last year.
Columbus is 1-4 in their last 5 games overall and 4-10 in their last 14 road games while the under is 7-1-1 in their last 9 games as a road underdog. Nashville is 5-0 in their last 5 Thursday games while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games overall. Columbus is 16-42 in the last 58 meetings between these two teams and 5-25 in the last 30 meetings between these two teams in Nashville.
Nashville’s owned the Blue Jackets at home over the years, but this may be a year to take some of the focus off of those head-to-head trends as a lot of that probably has to do with the home ice environment that fans in the stands would contribute to. Columbus looked good in the postseason last year and I’m concerned that there’s something going on with Nashville in net and I just don’t trust Saros or Rinne right now. I’ll take a shot with Columbus in this spot.