NHL Pick of the Week: St. Louis Blues at Columbus Blue Jackets

The 2019-20 NHL season is off to a terrific start, and there are a handful of teams that have already emerged as Stanley Cup title contenders. One of those teams in the St. Louis Blues and they will be in Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets on Friday night. The defending Stanley Cup Champion Blues are dealing with a ton of injuries, but it hasn't affected their play on the ice.

St. Louis enters the week with 27 points and are sitting atop the standings in the Central Division. The Blues enter the week having won seven straight games, and are on an absolute tear of late. Columbus lost a ton of talent off of last year's playoff team, and they are not off to a great start. The Blue Jackets have just 15 points through their first 17 games, and they are falling out of the playoff race in a hurry.

Blues Don't Allow Many Goals

One of the biggest reasons that the St. Louis Blues lead the Western Conference is that their defense has been terrific this season. The Blues are allowing just 2.7 goals per game, and they have killed off close to 82 percent of their penalties. Goaltender Jordan Binnington was the playoff hero a season ago, and he has picked up where he left off. The Blues play a puck possession type of game, and that strategy suits them well.

Center Ryan O'Reilly leads the team with 14 assists and 19 points this season, and he does a great job of setting up his line mates. Center Brayden Schenn also leads one of the lines for St. Louis, and he leads the team with 10 goals this season. The Blues have lost a ton of offensive weapons due to injury, but they find enough offense to keep on winning.

Blue Jackets Just Can't Score

The Columbus Blue Jackets are averaging just 2.35 goals per game this season, and finding consistent offense has been a big problem. Center Pierre-Luc Dubois leads the team with just six goals and 11 points, and Gustav Nyquist leads the team with eight assists. It's hard to imagine Columbus finding their offensive rhythm against the great defense of the Blues.

The Blue Jackets have also been giving up goals like crazy of late, and they haven't put their offense in a great position. Columbus has killed off just 75 percent of their own penalties, and they need to be disciplined in this game. Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo has gotten the majority of the playing time in Columbus, but is stopping less than 90 percent of shot attempts.

Columbus Can't Stop Blues

Even though the Blue Jackets will have the edge in playing at home in this game, these two teams just aren't even close to being on the same level. Columbus lost a ton of talent from last season, and their offense is one of the worst in the league. St. Louis just keeps on plugging in new pieces each game, and their depth is unmatched. The Blues get it done on both ends of the ice, and will win this game.Take the St. Louis Blues over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL Pick of the Week.