Columbus (40-16-6) at Ottawa (34-22-6)
When: Saturday, March 4th 2017
Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: FSN Ohio, CITY
The Ottawa Senators continue their quest to catch Montreal in the Atlantic Division when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. Ottawa is still six points behind the Canadiens, but have three games in hand and sit in second place in the division. However, Ottawa must not slip-up as they are only a few points ahead of the leas Wild Card spot as well. The Senators were thrilled to see Alex Burrows, their top acquisition at the trade deadline, pay dividends in his first game with the club, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Colorado on Thursday. Erik Karlsson (team-high 55 points), whose 45 assists are tied for second in the NHL with Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom, will set a franchise record by playing in his 312th consecutive game Saturday. Mark Stone (47 points) and Kyle Turris (44) share the club lead with 22 goals apiece while Mike Hoffman (43 points) has four assists in his last three games. Craig Anderson (17-8-1, 2.26, .930) is 5-2-0 with a .948 save percentage and 12 goals allowed in seven games since returning from a two-month absence to be with his wife, who is battling cancer, and is 11-5-0 in his career versus Columbus. Ottawa is 12-5-2 versus the Metropolitan this season – the best record against the league’s toughest division.
Columbus is riding their defense to five wins in their last seven games, allowing no more than two goals only once in that stretch. The Blue Jackets, who are 7-3-1 in their last 11 games, defeated Minnesota on Thursday after losing in overtime at Montreal on Tuesday, marking the first time in franchise history they’ve played back-to-back 1-0 games. Cam Atkinson leads the team with 29 goals but has scored in just one of the last eight games, recording two in Sunday’s 5-2 victory over the Rangers in New York. Center Alexander Wennberg (club-high 40 assists), who has recorded two goals and four assists in the three games prior to the 1-0 games, needs eight points to match the 60 he compiled in 137 games over his first two seasons. Sergei Bobrovsky (33-13-4, 2.13 goals-against average, .928 save percentage) has alternated wins and losses over his last nine starts (5-3-1), and has stopped 95-of-98 shots in his last three games. The teams split the first two meetings this season as each team won on the road with Columbus prevailing 7-6 on January 22nd three days after Ottawa recorded a 2-0 victory. The Blue Jackets have killed 17-of-18 penalties over their last eight games, moving them into 10th in the NHL at 82.6%.
Nothing seems to be getting by this Columbus defense lately even on the man-advantage. Ottawa has lost four of their last five following a win and the road team in this series has dominated lately (8-3). Look for Bobrovsky to be stellar once again and for Columbus to pick up the road victory.
Pick: Blue Jackets -115
HEAD TO HEAD
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