Coyotes, Blue Jackets in Friday NHL odds clash
By: David Schwab
Thursday, February 24, 2011
The Phoenix Coyotes have won the last five versus the Blue Jackets.
The Phoenix Coyotes will look to extend their current winning streak over the Columbus Blue Jackets to six games when the two teams clash Friday night at Nationwide Arena. Game time is set for 4 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast locally on FOX Sports-Ohio.
Phoenix’s recent eight-game win streak came to a crashing halt in Wednesday night’s 8-3 meltdown against Tampa Bay as a 151 road underdog. This followed a 3-2 win over Nashville last Saturday as a 142 road underdog and an impressive 3-2 OT victory in Philadelphia as a 172 underdog.
The Coyotes are now in second-place in the Pacific Division with a total of 75 points; one point behind San Jose. They are 33-20-9 straight-up overall (33-29 against the spread) and in fourth-place in the Western Conference.
Phoenix has been extremely balanced on offense this season with nine different players scoring 10 or more goals. Defenseman Keith Yandle leads the team in total points with 52 and is ranked fifth in the NHL in assists with 43. Left winger Scottie Upshall, who leads the team with 16 goals, will be out of the lineup against Columbus. He is serving the second of a two-game suspension for a late hit in the game against the Flyers.
The Coyotes are ranked 11th in the league in scoring with a goals per game average of 2.82.
Ilya Bryzgalov has spent the majority of the time in goal this season and should be between the pipes for this one after sitting out the game against the Lightning. He has a goals-against-average of 2.55 and a .919 save percentage in 48 previous starts. The Coyotes are giving up an average of 2.81 goals a game, ranking them 17th overall.
Columbus has won four of its last five games including a 4-3 victory over Chicago last Friday as a 165 road underdog and a 4-0 shutout of Nashville as a 104 home favorite this past Tuesday. The Blue Jackets are now 30-23-6 SU (30-29 ATS) with a total of 66 points. They are currently in 12th place in the conference, but just four points out of a playoff spot in the extremely competitive West.
Right winger Rick Nash has been a force for Columbus this season with 29 goals and a team-high 55 points. The Blue Jackets have clearly missed the presence of center Derick Brassard, who is third in total points with 39. He will be out until early March with a hand injury. This just further taxes an offense that is averaging 2.70 goals a game.
Goalie Steve Mason should get the start against the Coyotes. He has started 38 of 59 games this season and has a 2.97 GGA and a save percentage of .905. Columbus is ranked 21st in the NHL in goals allowed; giving up an average of 2.92 a game. It has also struggled against the power play with a penalty-killing rate of just 80.9 percent.
Phoenix is 16-13 this season as a favorite and 17-15 as an underdog. The total has gone ‘over’ in 35 of 62 games or 56.5 percent of the time.
Columbus is 14-10 as a favorite and 16-19 as an underdog. The total has stayed ‘under’ in 32 of 59 games or 54.2 percent of the time.
Head-to-head, the Coyotes have won the last five games and are 9-1 SU in the last 10 meetings. The total has stayed ‘under’ in six of these 10 games, but has gone ‘over’ in the last three.
Columbus should open as a very mild favorite, but could actually end up being be a home underdog. Either way, stick with the Coyotes in this one as they will find a way to quickly bounce back from Wednesday’s embarrassing loss.