By: Stephen Nover     Date: Oct 4, 2018
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Free Sports Game Preview and Prediction: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Detroit Red Wings
Thursday, October 04, 2018 7:30 PM
Play: Total: 5.5/-101 Over
This shapes up as a higher-scoring game than the oddsmakers think considering the circumstances. Columbus has one of the best goalies in hockey, Sergei Bobrovsky. But he's not getting the start. Instead it will be backup Joonas Korpisalo in net. That's a huge dropoff. Bobrovsky wasn't sharpe during preseason, but neither was Korpisalo with an .889 saves percentage and allowing 4.4 goals a game. Remember, too, the Blue Jackets won't have their star defenseman, Seth Jones, during at least the first month due to a sprained MCL he suffered in preseason. The Blue Jackets also will be without defensemen Ryan Murray, further weakening their blue line depth. The Red Wings should be faster this season with a lot of young players. They went 7-1 in preseason averaging 4.5 goals. Detroit scored at least three goals in each of its preseason games. Detroit, though, is dealing with a cluster injury problem on defense. The Red Wings are likely to be missing at least three of their top six defensemen. Definitely out are MIke Green and Niklas Kronwall. Jonathan Ericsson is doubtful. Trevor Daley is banged-up, too, but is expected to play although at less than 100 percent. These injuries mean the Red Wings will be playing at least four rookie defensemen, including Joe Hicketts and Filip Hronek, both of whom were supposed to be assigned to the American Hockey League but are now forced to play. The Blue Jackets' top line of Artemi Panarin, Cam Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois can take advantage. Panarin scored a franchise-best 82 points last season with 27 goals and 55 assists. Sparked by that line, the Blue Jackets went Over the total in 19 of their last 26 games. The Blue Jackets averaged 4.7 goals in eight preseason games, scoring at least four goals in seven of the preseason matchups. (Editor's note: Stephen Nover has beaten the NHL in each of the last three seasons. Stephen has found his hockey Game of the Week on today's card in addition to this free selection.)

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