Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars Betting Preview
Though the playoff picture looks rather bleak, both the Columbus Blue Jackets (15-20-9) and Dallas Stars (15-14-12) will try to keep their postseason hopes alive Thursday night in Dallas. The contest will be the seventh of eight meetings this season. Columbus and Dallas have each taken three games, two of which went to overtime and one to the shootout.
The Stars are rather heavily favored at home, listed at (-182). The underdog Blue Jackets are (+148) on the road. Puck drop is at 8:30 P.M. Eastern on ESPN+.
Columbus Blue Jackets Preview
The Blue Jackets’ season has gone pear-shaped after they aspired to return to the postseason for a fifth consecutive year. Missing the playoffs would end a franchise record of consecutive seasons of postseason play.
At Monday’s trade deadline, Columbus traded captain Nick Foligno and center Riley Nash to the Toronto Maple Leafs in separate deals. They also sent defenseman David Savard, who had spent ten seasons with Columbus, to Tampa Bay in a three-team deal with Detroit.
It would seem Columbus is looking ahead to next season, with three first-round picks in the upcoming draft.
Thursday night in Dallas, Elvis Merzlikins is expected to get the start. This season, Merzlikins has a 6-9-2 record, a 2.93 GAA, a .911 save percentage, and a shutout. If for some reason, he can’t go, Joonas Korpisalo (9-11-7, 3.13 GAA, .899 save percentage) would likely get the call in net instead.
Defenseman Zach Werenski is done for the year after undergoing sports hernia surgery. Boone Jenner (broken finger) and Gustav Nyquist (shoulder) are still several weeks away from returning from their injuries.
Dallas Stars Preview
Unlike Columbus, Dallas didn’t make any trades at the deadline, instead hoping to get everyone healthy and limp their way to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Stars general manager Jim Nill announced Wednesday that both Ben Bishop and Alexander Radulov would be done for the season. Bishop had not played since the 2020 playoffs after undergoing knee surgery. Radulov will be undergoing core muscle surgery.
On a more positive note, winger Roope Hintz and defenseman Andrej Sekera are expected to return to the lineup Thursday. Star center Tyler Seguin and winger Joel Kiviranta should be rejoining the team late next week.
Anton Khudobin is the probable starter between the pipes Thursday. Khudobin has a 9-9-6 record this season, along with a 2.34 GAA., a .913 save percentage, and three shutouts.
Dallas’ goaltending provides a significant edge in net, conceding nearly a full goal fewer per game (Columbus allows 3.23 goals per game, Dallas allows 2.46, the fifth-fewest league-wide). The Stars also have a scoring edge, averaging 2.73 goals per game to the Blue Jackets’ 2.50.
Making things tougher for Columbus, Dallas also has better special teams units. The Stars power play runs at a 24.6% clip, sixth-best in the league, and they kill 78.3% of their penalties. Columbus, meanwhile, scores just 14.0% of the time with the man advantage, and the penalty kill is a pedestrian 77.8% on the season.
Even with all of Dallas’ injuries, Thursday night’s game will be a tough one for Columbus.
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