Minnesota Wild vs. Columbus Blue Jackets February 23 Betting Preview
On Thursday night, the Minnesota Wild will visit the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Minnesota enters this game holding onto the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, while the Blue Jackets just had their recent winning streak snapped at two games. But the Jackets have been fighting hard of late, and can’t be counted out in this contest on the ice.
The Minnesota Wild come into this game on a three-game winning streak, which could not have come at a better time. They have maintained a playoff position, as they are in the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference entering Thursday’s action. Here, they will look to help solidify their spot in the playoff picture with a win over the Blue Jackets, improving on their road record in the process.
For the most part, the defense of the Wild has really stepped up to help them win three games in a row of late. They have allowed just one goal in two of their last three outings, shutting down the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings over that span. If they can clamp down defensively once again in this game, the Wild could cruise to a fourth straight win and move a step closer to making the playoffs.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets lost their most recent game, having a two-game winning streak snapped by the Arizona Coyotes. That loss came in overtime, with the Jackets giving up the deciding goal just after the midway point of the overtime period. Now the Jackets will look to rebound against a Wild team that is fighting for its playoff lives.
Even though the Blue Jackets lost their last game, their recent defensive improvement continued against the Coyotes. They have given up two or fewer goals in regulation in three straight games, despite allowing the back breaker to the Coyotes to give up a third goal in that contest.
If they can continue to lock down on their opponents here, the Jackets will have a fighting chance against another team that is ahead of them in the standings.
Keys To The Game
The biggest key to this game for the Wild will be to maintain their sky-high energy level for this matchup. Minnesota has been playing at their highest level of late, knowing that they cannot afford to lose many games if they want to end up in the postseason this year.
They cannot afford to let down in this or any other game down the stretch this season if they want to remain in the top-eight.
On the Columbus side, the top key to this contest is going to be finding ways to take the wind out of the sail of the Wild. They can do that by taking the puck away and keeping it out of the Columbus defensive zone, or by getting as many power play opportunities as possible. If they can do either of those things, the Jackets could win a third game out of their last four.
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