It is a battle for second place in the Metropolitan Division on Friday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both teams come into this game trailing Washington for the division lead. The Penguins are 6-2-2 in their last ten games while Columbus is just 4-5-1 in their last ten. Let’s look at Friday’s game and NHL picks.
The Penguins visit the Blue Jackets on Friday, February 17th with a start time of 7 pm Eastern.
Pittsburgh -110, total 6 over
Pittsburgh vs. Columbus
The Penguins will be in a back-to-back situation as they hosted Winnipeg on Thursday night. It is unlikely the Penguins will have any type of letdown coming off the game against the Jets considering Columbus is right with them in terms of points.
Pittsburgh is the top scoring team in the NHL as they average 3.5 goals per game while they give up 2.8 goals per contest. Pittsburgh has been almost unbeatable at home but on the road they are just 12-14 with 16 games going over, 9 going under with one push. Since this is the second half of a back-to-back there is a good chance that the Penguins will play Marc-Andre Fleury as it was supposed to be Matt Murray going against Winnipeg on Thursday.
Columbus was the best team in the NHL through December but since their 16-game winning streak ended they haven’t been anything special. They have not won more than two games in a row since. They have alternated wins and losses in their last five games. Columbus is 20-9 at home with 11 games going over and 18 going under. The Blue Jackets are scoring 3.2 goals per game while allowing 2.4 per contest.
Captain Nick Foligno said that the effort with his team is there and that the team is improving. “Our cycling game has gotten a lot better. Our fore-checking has gotten a lot better. We’re playing out of our zone fast, and we’re limiting teams. It’s just the execution part. We’ve kind of handed some goals to teams these last couple games, and that’s an area we’ve got to tighten up in, but overall, you look at the body of work and there’s lots to be excited about. I think we’re trending in the right direction.”
The Penguins are 1-4 in the last 5 meetings in Columbus. The Penguins are 39-14 in their last 53 vs. the Metropolitan. The Penguins are 5-2 in their last 7 games playing with no rest. The Blue Jackets are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. the Metropolitan.
The Under is 5-0 in the Penguins last 5 games playing with no rest. The Over is 17-5-4 in the Penguins last 26 vs. the Metropolitan. The Over is 12-5 in the Penguins last 17 road games. The Under is 7-2 in the Blue Jackets last 9 home games. The Over is 13-4 in the last 17 meetings in Columbus.
These teams have gone over the total a lot in recent meetings in Columbus and it should be Fleury in goal so I will take this game on Friday night over the total.