After a night's break our NHL expert Sippy is back with another tip for tonight.
Current Record: 8-5, +3.72u
Sippy's unit system ranges from 1.0 to 3.0, with most picks at 1.5 or 2u, but he'll occasionally stray from that - usually displaying a measure of his condidence in the pick.
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02/26 - Pittsburgh Penguins @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets ML
The Blue Jackets come into this one sporting some fresh faces after the trade deadline - they were super busy over the past week, acquiring Duchene, Dzingel, McQuaid, and Kinkaid, and despite the numerous trade rumors, they're keeping starting goalie Bobrovsky and star LW Panarin. Columbus has fared really well since the new acquisitions, winning both their matches since getting Duchene and Dzingel, beating the Sens 3-0 and the Sharks 4-0, the latter of which was a really impressive home win during which the Jackets dominated one of the best teams in the NHL. Going back a bit further, Columbus has now won 7 of their last 10 games with their only losses coming to the Habs, Isles, and Lightning, all teams with better records than the Pittsburgh team the Jackets are hosting tonight. The Pens are coming off back-to-back losses (4-0 to the Sharks and 4-3 to the Flyers) and after Saturday's game both of their top defensemen are now injured and their defensive depth is going to be seriously tested by the various injuries and that's definitely not a development that the already faltering Pens need right now. Pittsburgh has lost 5 straight games to teams with winning records and 4 straight games as underdogs on the road. The Blue Jackets have been fighting full tilt as the stretch run begins in earnest and I expect them to continue their improved performance and handle a battered Pens team tonight.
Sergei Bobrovsky will start in net tonight for Columbus and he's been on fire lately, posting 2 straight shutouts (one against the high-powered Sharks offense) and a 1.77 GAA in his last 10 starts winning 7 of those games. He's been playing really well as the Jackets jostle for playoff position which is a stark contrast to the current form of Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray who will start in goal for the Pens tonight. He's allowed 12 goals in his last 3 starts and played an embarrassing game against the Flyers and I fully blame him for that loss as he was letting in shots that shouldn't have been anything close to goals. A badly battered defense isn't going to help matters and I give Bobrovsky the edge tonight.