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Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Vancouver Canucks NHL Picks | Preview

2011 NHL Hockey Free Predictions: Blue Jackets vs Canucks

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Columbus Blue Jackets (31-24-6) at Vancouver Canucks (39-15-9)
Date/Time: Tuesday, March 1, 2011, 10:00 PM ET
Venue: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
Broadcast: FS-O (HD), SNET-VAN (HD)
Jackets vs. Canucks Betting Lines from Bodog.com
Spread: OFF
Moneyline: Columbus +170: Vancouver -200
Over/Under: 5.5 goals
CLICK HERE FOR our LIVE NHL ATS Betting Stats For This Game —>

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to continue their meteoric rise in the Western Conference on Tuesday night – the only problem is that they play the best team in the NHL in one of the toughest buildings in the league. Both teams added some grit and some depth during yesterday`s trade deadline day – the Jackets go Scottie Upshall and Sam Lepisto and the Canucks got Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre.

Columbus has been on quite a roll but still occupy 12th place in the Western Conference (only four points out of eighth). They are in the midst of a 7-2-1 stretch and have been getting solid play from veterans, rookies and in goal.

Columbus is exactly where you`d think they would be offensively – middle of the pack and scoring right around 2.7 goals per game. Rick Nash has continued his studly ways recording 10 points in his last seven games. RJ Umberger has provided some support with four points in two games but it has been the play of this week`s NHL 3rd Star – rookie Matt Calvert that has been the difference for this team. Calvert has five points in his last two games and appears to be that guy that can take some of the onus off Mr. Nash. With Scottie Upshall in the mix, suddenly the Blue Jackets have two very solid lines.

Columbus is the 21st ranked defensive team in the NHL. It is no fluke that their good fortune has coincided with some better goaltending. Steve Mason has been on fire lately going 7-1-0 in his last eight starts with an impressive 1.76 goals against average. Expect Mason to start on Tuesday.

The Vancouver Canucks have not exactly looked like the best team in the NHL the last two or so weeks but their previously stellar play gave them the necessary cushion to have an average stretch. They are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games and have alternated wins and losses over their last nine.

Vancouver continues to be the best offensive team in the NHL with an average of 3.3 goals scored per game. The Sedins are #1 and #3 in NHL scoring and have five points in their last four games. Secondary scoring has also re-emerged with Michael Sameulsson registering 16 points in his last 13 games. Raffi Torres and Ryan Kesler have also continued their strong play. Vancouver hasn’t been scoring at the rate that we have become accustomed to but with the talent and the added depth of this team, the sky is the limit.

The Canucks are also the best defensive teams in the league with an average of just 2.3 goals against per game. Roberto Luongo has been a little off lately going 0-2-0 in his last two starts with a 2.52 goals against average but Corey Schneider is there to pick up the slack and is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals against in his last two games. Expect Luongo to start again on Tuesday night. 

Betting Prediction: The Columbus Blue Jackets are 15-11-4 on the road this season but are just 6-13 in their last 19 trips to Vancouver. Columbus is 8-3 in t heir last 11 games overall. The Vancouver Canucks are 22-6-5 at home this season and are 70-30 in their last 100 games on home ice. Vancouver is 29-14 in their last 43 games overall. 

The Vancouver Canucks have alternated wins and losses in their last nine – it is their turn to win a game! They have been rather underwhelming at home and it is time to ramp up their play for the stretch drive. The Canucks have owned the Jackets in the last few years and I expect that to continue on Tuesday night in a high scoring game. 

Pick: Vancouver Canucks -200 and the Over – 5.5 goals

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