Free NHL Picks: Struggling Ducks Not Ready To Beat Blackhawks

Dana Lane

Saturday, February 13, 2016 3:02 PM GMT

The Anaheim Ducks (26-19-8 60 pts) travel to face the suddenly mediocre Chicago Blackhawks (36-18-4 76 pts) who are ranked 4th in my power poll. Who will be the NHL pick?

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NHL Pick: Blackhawks -133
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Ducks vs. Blackhawks
The Dallas Stars fell into the United Center, Thursday, against the Blackhawks and what a statement they made. The Stars ran Corey Crawford from the game en route to a 4-2 victory to move to within one point of the Hawks in the Central Division. In defeat, the Blackhawks looked disinterested and lethargic. The loss dropped them  to 5-5 in their last ten games and with two straight home losses. So with all that, I expect Chicago to come out with a high intensity level to right the ship.

I'm still extremely confident in Chicago, in fact, I have them as the team to beat in the West even though I have them ranked fourth in my current power poll. The reasons are simple, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Jonathan Toews. Over the years these players have earned a level of trust that when times are tough these will be the guys I'll stand behind. That's why, when the playoffs start, I will more than likely be looking to back Chicago as much as possible.  

Kane is the best player in the National Hockey right now.  Sorry Connor McDavid fans. His abilty to score from anywhere in the offensive zone coupled with being a fantastic playmaker makes his line with Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin, when healthy, the best in the league. So just because they've gone through an uncharacteristic stretch doesn't mean jump off the wagon against the Ducks, Anaheim couldn't hold two two-goal leads against Columbus who are the worst team in the league.  

Head Coach, Bruce Boudreau, came out after the game and stated the Ducks didn't respect the Jackets enough. Those kind of statements have always seemed self serving to me. You're basically telling the opponent that they got lucky and our team is still better despite the result. Bruce, if the Ducks didn't respect the Jackets then who's fault is that?  Your team is the least feared offensive club in the NHL and you think you have room to relax? You didn't seem to have trouble getting up for Arizona who is the bottom five of the league. I suppose we can look forward to a respectful night at Chicago against the NHL odds.

 I won't back teams that pretty much admit they don't show up to play every night which is why, despite their playoff position, I don't have Anaheim in the top ten in my poll.

Of the Ducks top six forwards, Center Ryan Kesler, hasn't scored in three games and Jakob Silfverberg has one point in his last six.  

From a trend angle, the Ducks have not been a team who goes on the road and surprises an Elite team at home.  In their last 11 games against teams with a winning percentage of at least .600 the Ducks are 1-10. That doesn't inspire me to go against the Blackhhawks who have historically been good against teams with losing road records (65-21 in their Last 86 attempts).

The Ducks haven't beaten Chicago in their last four attempts, make that five for our NHL pick tonight.