The Lightning vs Blue Jackets game tonight is the perfect get-right game for both the league-leading Lightning and struggling gamblers alike.
Two nights ago, I told the whole world to take the Lightning in regulation (-148) against the Blue Jackets. I posted it all over Twitter, texted people, put it in my work group chats, wrote an article and posted it in as many Facebook groups as I could. The Lightning lost, 3-1.
That is why tonight I am saying with even more conviction, you HAVE to take the Lightning, and since I assume most of you don’t want to lay the monstrous -280 ML, you’ll have to do it in regulation.
Lightning (24-9-2) vs Blue Jackets (14-15-8) Betting Odds and Time
Start Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Lightning vs Blue Jackets Season Series in Review
It might surprise you to find out that despite having very different records, and thus far very different seasons, the Lightning vs Blue Jackets games always end up as very close.
Prior to the Blue Jackets 3-1 victory on Tuesday evening, these two teams had played to a one-goal contest in six of their last eight meetings, with four of those six going to overtime. This dates back to last season, including five games in the playoffs.
In three games this season, the Blue Jackets have been able to win two of them, despite being outshot by a total of 35. Casual hockey fans may not realize how large that number is, but trust me, it is significant.
Both Blue Jackets goaltenders Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo have stood on their heads when facing the league-leading Lightning, but eventually that barrage of extra pucks are going to take effect, which is what I think we will see tonight.
Lightning vs Blue Jackets Game Preview
I just do not see the Lightning losing this game. They have suffered just one four-game losing streak dating all the way back to the 2016-17 season, and as current losers of three in a row, that is what is on the line for them tonight.
Let me restate that, the Lightning have been so dominant that in the past FOUR seasons, they have only suffered a four-game losing streak once. That is A LOT of hockey games, folks.
Everything screams Lightning tonight. They are at home, looking for revenge on a much worse team who seems to somehow have their number. While those intangibles are important, the tangible, measurable stats only further my conviction.
As you can see below, the Lightning and Blue Jackets are on opposite ends of the spectrum in quite literally every offensive and defensive category. The Lightning are a top 5/10 team in any statistic you choose, while the Blue Jackets float around the bottom of the NHL.
The only stat where this is flip flopped is penalty minutes, which is not a big enough factor to really sway the game in either direction.
On top of it all is a favorable goaltender matchup for the Lightning.
Having outshot the Blue Jackets by 18 on Tuesday night, you would have thought the Lightning had a great shot at a victory. Sadly their backup goalie was in net, and though he has won them a few games this season, he certainly played like a back up that night, allowing three goals on 20 shots.
Tonight we get Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy, the man I’ve affectionately dubbed “The Russian Stud”, back in the net. He comes into the contest with a season record of 21-5-1 earning himself a .930 sv% with a 1.99 GAA along the way.
His adversary on the opposite end up the ice will be Korpisalo, who indeed has played well against the Lightning, but his overall numbers are not so pretty. In 24 starts this season he has racked up an 8-10-6 record with a .899 sv% and 3.02 GAA.
*UPDATE: Columbus has confirmed Merzlikins will start tonight. (6-5-2 w/ .918sv% and 2.72 GAA)*
Lightning vs Blue Jackets Prediction and Best Bet
I hope you all have not grown too attached to your one goal contests, because I do not expect this one to be close.
I wish the in regulation payout was a little bit better, but Vegas is not buying into the fugazi the Blue Jackets have going either.
Take the Lightning, and do it with confidence.
Lightning vs Blue Jackets Picks
TB in regulation (-175), TB -1.5 (-115), CBJ TTu2 (-117)