Welcome back to NHL Predictions, where the Last Word on Hockey team provides insight into all of today’s games. On Wednesday, January 22nd’s edition of NHL Predictions, we’ll take a look at two games. Today’s featured game is a battle between the Winnipeg Jets and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Jets 1-0 Blue Jackets
For the featured game of today’s NHL Predictions, it´s the battle between two injury-rattled teams. The Jets dropped out of the playoff picture in the recent weeks. Meanwhile, the superb Blue Jackets have climbed all the way to the playoff race. Both teams are clearly heading in the opposite direction, they will have a bye week/All-Star break next. For the Jets, it’s a welcomed break. Winnipeg opened the calendar year with only three wins in nine games. They played on a road against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday and it will be a back-to-back situation for Winnipeg.
The streaking Blue Jackets are red-hot as they come. Columbus has won five in a row, giving up only three goals in the process. John Tortorella was angry after he lost Joonas Korpisalo to the injury, but he didn’t have to. Since the injury, Elvis Merzlikins went 8-2-0 in his 10 starts, recording three shutouts and giving up only 16 goals against. The Blue Jackets slowly begin to recover the injured players, Oliver Bjorkstrand walked off the injured reserve on Sunday to sink the New York Rangers with two third-period tallies.
Columbus is 15-2-4 in their last 21 games. Only two regulation losses have come versus the San Jose Sharks, ironically. In November, the Jets downed the Blue Jackets in Winnipeg in a thrilling fashion. That time, the Blue Jackets saw their three-game winning streak snapped, and their playoff hopes faded. However, never say never. In their last six visits to Ohio, the Jets are 5-0-1, they have won their last three head-to-head clashes with Columbus.
Prediction: Blue Jackets win 3-2 in overtime.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0-0 Wild
In the last NHL game before a bit of a lengthy break, it´s the contest of the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Minnesota Wild. The Wild still hold thin playoff aspirations. However, after big back-to-back victories against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars, the Wild lost on Monday versus the Florida Panthers, giving up a game-winner only five seconds to go in the third period. They have no option but to beat the Red Wings tonight.
There is a 22-point difference between the two squads. Even then, Minnesota is well-outside the playoff picture with 50 points in the standings. The Red Wings with 28 points easily occupy the last spot in the NHL, having lost their last five contests. Almost a year ago, the Red Wings defeated the Wild in St. Paul. Before that, the Wild won three straight at home versus Detroit.
Prediction: Wild win 5-2.