Free NHL Picks: Revamped Blackhawks To Take Capitals Winning Streak

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, February 28, 2016 3:05 PM GMT

In what could be a Stanley Cup preview the Capitals travel to the Windy City to take on the Blackhawks. Let's review the NHL odds and cash in our NHL picks this afternoon.

Washington Capitals (45-15 SU, +22.1 units)
The Caps have won 10 of their last twelve and with 94 points after just 60 games are a virtual lock to gain the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Of course anything can happen but their closest rivals to the top spot in the East are the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers both with 78 points. Washington ranks 1st in goals scored and power play percentage while ranking 3rd in goals against and 4th on the penalty kill.

The uber talented Alexander Ovechkin notched his 40th goal of the season in a 3-2 victory over the Wild on Friday night. The Capitals' captain is the leading goal scorer in the NHL and as long as he is roaming the ice Washington is never out of any game. While Caps' fans have grown accustomed to Ovechkin's dominating performances his contributions alone have not been enough to push Washington deep into the postseason. However this season with the emergence of 23-year-old Evgeny Kuznetsov, who currently leads the team in points with 63 and is currently fourth in the league in that category, Washington may finally be the NHL odds boards favorite to capture a Stanley Cup that has eluded them since their inception.

 

Chicago Blackhawks (38-25 SU, +5.0 units)
The Blackhawks have been mired in a losing streak recently, dropping five of their last seven games. In their last outing Chicago hosted the Nashville Predators as -145 home favorites but fell 3-1 as they allowed two unanswered third period goals. It was another setback for a team that had been rolling through the regular season up until February 9th when they were blanked 2-0 by the San Jose Sharks. Those who have included the 'Hawks in their NHL picks are none too pleased as they are usually installed as fairly good priced favorites. Nevertheless, the team has returned +5 units on the season but that return on investment will continue to be slashed if the team does not straighten out their recent woes.

General Manager Stan Bowman is not content to see his team fall by the wayside. He has been wheeling and dealing lately and all that new injection of blood should be in uniform for Sunday's epic tilt with the Capitals. Chicago swung deals for former Blackhawk and captain of the Winnipeg Jets Andrew Ladd (Jets), Matt Fraser (Jets), Jay Harrison (Jets), Christian Ehrhoff (Kings), Tomas Fleischman (Canadiens) and Dale Weise (Canadiens). We shall see if they can right the suddenly rudderless ship in Chicago this afternoon.

 

Betting Analysis
Washington is 4-1 (+4.1 units) against the Blackhawks over the course of the last three seasons. The Caps added to that in their only meeting with Chicago this season in a 4-1 drubbing at the Verizon Center back in October. But this is a revamped Blackhawks club that will get a big boost from the new faces who are undoubtedly amped up for this showdown against the top team in the league this season.

Let us also not forget the Capitals will be without their top goal scoring defenseman John Carlson who re-aggravated a lower body injury. That will take away on their power play unit as well as their ability to maintain pressure inside the offensive zone. That is a bigger loss than the casual bettor realizes as Joe Q. Public's attention is focused exclusively on the big names like Ovechkin,  Kuznetsov et al. 

We will side with the home team here, one that holds the best record in the league outside of the team they are facing today and one point behind the Dallas Stars. I like the sense of urgency Stan Bowman has shown and goalie Corey Crawford is amongst the best in the business when he's on. Let's lay the small number on the home team.

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NHL Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -120
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes