Say 'hello' to a new Columbus story -- NHL style

Mar 17, 2009 4:10 PM
Power Plays by by Mark Mayer |
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NHL
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The 1969 classic flick "Goodbye Columbus" starred Ali McGraw of "Love Story" fame and spawned that song by the Association.

The sequel has been a rerun of sorts since 2000 with shouts of "Goodbye Columbus" when the NHL playoffs arrived. In fact, the Blue Jackets are the only NHL franchise to never make the playoffs.

But this tale is about to turn.

The Blue Jackets are solidly in the thick of the Western Conference race, currently fifth and closing in on third place Chicago. They recently beat Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston and Detroit by a combined 19-8.

So as we begin this week of picks, let’s say ‘Hello, Columbus."

Tuesday, March 17

Dallas at Vancouver: Canucks have been hot of late, but not against Dallas. Stars won earlier matchups 2-1 and 3-2 and are fighting for the No. 8 slot in the playoffs. Expect a tight checking game. UNDER.

Colorado at Minnesota: We’re just not Wild about the Avs, but four of the five meetings totaled 5 goals or less. UNDER.

Wednesday, March 18

Chicago at Columbus: The Blue Jackets won 5-3 last week at Chicago and the Blackhawks hit Columbus after playing the night before. The Jackets were idle. COLUMBUS.

Dallas Stars at Calgary: The same situation here with the visiting Stars in from Vancouver the previous evening. CALGARY.

Thu, March 19

LA at Boston: Call this "goal and a half night." B’s will be a big favorite at home, but the feisty Kings are worth a look if taking +1½. LA +1½.

Nashville Preds at San Jose: Same here. San Jose’s problems were documented here last week. And we recommended taking the +1½ when the Sharks returned home. Like here. NASHVILLE +1½.

Friday, March 20

LA at Pittsburgh: The Penguins have now found themselves and glad to see LA come to town after toughie with the Bruins.

PITTSBURGH.

Sat, March 21

Toronto Leafs at Montreal: The No. 1 matchup for Hockey Night in Canada with two of the storied franchises from the Original 6. The four previous matchups totaled 7, 8, 9 and 7 goals. A no-brainer of a choice OVER.

Sunday, March 22

Ottawa at NY Rangers: Two teams benefitting from midseason coaching changes. The playoffs too late for Ottawa, but not so for the revived Rangers. NEW YORK.