Crawford, Blackhawks Seeking Cover Thursday vs. Rangers

Dusty Streets

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 7:24 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018 7:24 PM UTC

Two Original Six teams meet on Thursday night in Chicago, with  the Blackhawks trying to build off their most recent performance. A visit by the Rangers might be just what they need to maintain momentum.  

Dusty's 2018-19 NHL picks record: 1-1

New York Rangers at ChicagoThursday, 8:30 p.m. ETFree NHL Pick: Blackhawks PLBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

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The Chicago Blackhawks must feel like they're stuck on a disfunctional carnival ride. One minute they're going up as planned, only to be turned the opposite way unexpectedly, then reversed upward again and feeling good about themselves.

They're feeling very good about themselves following Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Pacific Division co-leader Anaheim. Now it's time to maintain the positive vibes.

Chicago welcomes the New York Rangers to United Center on Thursday night, and the hosts are the favorites on the NHL odds board. New York is coming off a victory of its own, 5-2 over Florida for its first regulation win. The Blackhawks are 5-2-2 straight-up and 5-4 against the puck line, while the Rangers are 3-5-1 SU and 6-3 vs. the PL.

Thursday's likely goaltending matchup features two veterans, New York's Henrik Lundqvist (2-4-1 record this season, 2.55 goal-against average, .921 save percentage) and Chicago's Corey Crawford (2-1, 1.69 GAA, .946 SP). Lundqvist did not play Tuesday; Crawford did and stopped 24 of 25 shots in his third game back after not playing since December 2017.

The fact the Blackhawks allowed only 25 shots to Anaheim is a win in itself. Chicago allows an average of 35.8 shots per game, the fifth-most in the league entering Wednesday's action. No doubt Mike Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello, the Rangers' points leaders with 9 and 8, respectively, are hoping to capitalize on Chicago's defensive lapses. Zibanejad and Zuccarello each scored twice against Florida, and Zibanejad added two assists.

The Hawks also had a two-goal scorer Tuesday. After hitting the post twice on Sunday, Brandon Saad finally was seeing red against Anaheim -- the red light, that is -- including a game-clinching empty-netter. Saad is back on the second line with winger Patrick Kane, the team leader with 13 points.

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Along with his sweet setup to Patrick Kane last night, Coach Q says that Erik Gustafsson \"pushes the pace of our team game\" offensively.

More on Gus becoming a difference-maker for the #Blackhawks: https://t.co/DG7q4Ut7e3 pic.twitter.com/53iOnkwKPf

— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) October 24, 2018
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What's Trending
  • Rangers are 9-3 in their last 12 games after scoring five goals or more in their previous game.
  • Rangers are 3-13 in their last 16 games vs. Central Division teams.
  • Rangers are 0-6 in their last six games following a win.
  • Blackhawks are 4-0 in their last four games playing on one day of rest.
  • Blackhawks are 3-8 in their last 11 home games.
  • Blackhawks are 5-17 in their last 22 games following a win.

Ice Pick

Original Six matchups always have a sense of nostalgia, especially for the Blackhawks. They play only 10 such games each season because they are the only Original Six franchise in the Western Conference. What's more special than playing a fellow Original Six team? Beating them. The Blackhawks went 2-0-0 against the Rangers last season and 1-0-1 the year before. For your NHL picks Thursday, expect the domination to continue.

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