There is no easy night as all of the teams in the Central Division of the Western Conference are all. 500 or better. Tonight, the Blackhawks face a Minnesota Wild that's very tough at home. See who we like in this inter-division matchup as our pick.
Ice-time is set for 8:00 pm ET tonight at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota. This game can be seen on NHL TV.
The NHL odds list Chicago as a -145 betting favorite on the road and the total for the game is listed at 5.5.
Chicago will be just itching to get back on the ice after peppering Semyon Varlamov of Colorado with 54 shots on goal and coming up with nothing as they went down in defeat, 2-0. This is a very aggressive Chicago club that has recorded nearly 36 shots on goal per contest. They average 3 goals per game and have the best defense in the NHL, allowing 2.2 goals per game while killing over 90% of opposing teams power plays. Minnesota will have their hands full tonight.
It's a bit early, but Minnesota has confirmed that Niklas Backstrom will be in net tonight. Chicago hasn't confirmed anything as of yet, but we're assuming that Corey Crawford will be between the pipes.
Chicago is at a distinct advantage as you have to go all the way back to December 13th to find Backstrom's last win.since that time, Backstrom has played in just 3.5 games and allow 4.06 GAA % and an .879 SV%.
Crawford on the other hand, is 15-8-2 with a 2.20 GAA.and .919 SV% this season. He hasn't been spectacular as of late and doesn't see a ton of shots as Chicago possesses the best defense in the league, but he's definitely battle-tested. The regular season is a warm-up for Chicago. The real season begins in the playoffs.
Patrick Kane (19 goals, 23 assists) and Jonathan Toews ( 13 goals, 20 assists) lead this ferocious Chicago offense while Duncan Keith (26 points, 26 minutes on ice per game) leads the way on defense.
Despite 7 shots on goal, Kane was unable to get to Varlamov in Chicago's last game, but in his last 5 games, he's had 3 goals and 3 assists. He's Chicago's best offensive player and you can expect some production out of Patrick Kane tonight as he'll see a lot of ice time. Kane also leads the Blackhawks in shots on goal with 132. The guy is a flatout beast.
Toews has found some success against Minnesota this season. He recorded 1 goal and 2 assists in their only meeting. One statistic that I find very interesting and haven't realized is that in the Blackhawks 14 losses this season, Jonathan Toews, had recorded 4 assists without a single goal. That's pretty one-sided; luckily for Toews and the Hawks, they're a fairly dominant team and are expected to win tonight.
The Wild have guys that can put the puck in the net as left wingers Zach Parise, Jason Zucker, and Nino Neiderreiter lead the club with 14 goals apiece, but Parise is clearly the go to guy with a +7 ratio, 5 power play goals and 112 shots on goal this season.
Parise didn't play on Tuesday, but is expected to play tonight. He's played well as of late, with a point in 3 out of his last 5 games and he recorded an assist in his last game in which Minnesota was crushed 7-1 by Dallas. The Wild will need something special from this former Devil tonight or they could be in for a long night, so I'm gonna suggest the readers to choose the Blackhawks as their NHL pick.
NHL Pick- Chicago -145 at 5Dimes