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Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Picks & NHL Preview

Blue Jackets vs Penguins NHL Line & Handicapping

Jackets Try to Take Down Goliath – Columbus Visits Pittsburgh Monday Night

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to stretch their modest win streak to three games Monday night when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins who are coming off a loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

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Columbus (12-14-2-1) at Pittsburgh (20-10-1-0)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, December 9, 2013
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Broadcast: RDS, TCN-PH, SNET-E
Jackets vs. Penguins Betting Lines
No Lines Available

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The teams have met twice this season with Pittsburgh taking both ends of a home-and-home in early November.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been getting it done with defense in their last couple of games despite the loss of reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. The Jackets have recorded two straight shutouts and haven’t allowed a goal in over 137 minutes of play.

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As a team the Jackets are middle-of-the-pack in goals against in the league – 2.72 goals per game. But backup Curtis McElhinny has been terrific in relief of Bobrovsky – not allowing a goal in the final period against Tampa Bay and shutting out Minnesota on Friday.

Offensively the Jackets will likely be hard pressed to keep up with the vaunted Pittsburgh goal scorers. They average an OK 2.72 goals per game despite playing without Marion Gaborik and Nathan Horton – two huge cogs in the Jackets offense. Nick Foligno has points in three of his past four games (3-1-4) and RJ Umberger has three points in three games – that’s about it for the Hot List for the Jackets.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be a motivated bunch after letting on slip away Saturday against Boston. They controlled much of the game only to give up a goal with 13 seconds left to lose. The Pens are still one of the elite teams and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.
Offense certainly hasn’t been a problem for the Pens. They are predictably amongst the best in the league averaging 3.03 goals per game. Penguins center Sidney Crosby has points in eight straight games (7-9-16). Chris Kunitz has 31 points in 31 games and extended his point streak to seven Saturday (6-4-10) and James Neal has 17 points in his last 10 games – enviable numbers for any team!

It is unclear as to who will start between the pipes for Pittsburgh on Monday but either way the Pens seem to be in good hands. Marc-Andre Fleury is 3-1-0 with a 1.48 GAA and .945 save percentage in his last four starts and backup Jeff Zatkoff is 4-0-0 with a 1,60 GAA and .940 save percentage in his last four.

Dave’s FREE NHL Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:
• CLB are 146-329-15 in their last 490 road games.
• PIT are 54-17 in their last 71 home games.
• Under is 8-3 in PIT last 11 Mon. games.
• Over is 5-2-2 in PIT last 9 overall.
• Over is 11-3 in the last 14 meetings.
• Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Penguins rarely lose two straight games – I don’t think Columbus is the team to buck that trend. The Pens played well against Boston and perhaps should have won that game. Against an inferior Columbus team, it is hard to imagine a letdown. It doesn’t matter what the line turns out to be…

Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins


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