NHL Picks: Blackhawks vs. Coyotes

David Lawrence

Sunday, January 20, 2013 2:13 PM GMT

The Chicago Blackhawks had a relatively easy time dispelling the Los Angeles Kings in their season opening 5-2 win on Saturday and there’s a good chance they carry that momentum over to Saturday.

NHL Betting: Blackhawks vs. Coyotes NHL Picks

Next up for Chicago is a matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes, who may not have the offense to keep up.

Record: 4-3

The Chicago Blackhawks can win because…

Their offense has already shown what it can do. Everyone knows that for the Blackhawks to be a contender this season, they need their offense – which is one of the best in the NHL – to lead the way. That happened on Saturday as the Blackhawks scored five goals en route to an easy win over Los Angeles.

The main reason the Blackhawks slumped last season was that many of their key players suffered through injuries. Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane all battled the bug. They should be thrilled to see that all of those key players scored in their win over Los Angeles with Hossa netting a pair, and Kane and Toews chipping in a goal.

The Coyotes had a great season last year but they didn’t do anything to bolster their roster. As a matter of fact, they allowed their leading scorer, Ray Whitney, to leave for Dallas. If the Blackhawks turn this into a shootout, the Coyotes won’t be able to cover the betting odds.

The Phoenix Coyotes can win because…

They know how to beat the Blackhawks. After all, they stifled them in the first round of the 2011-12 playoffs and ended up ousting them.

The difference between these two teams is the quality between the pipes. Sure, the Blackhawks have the better offense – just as they did last season – but the Coyotes are far superior in net. Mike Smith proved to be among the league’s best goalies last season while the Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford only proved to be shaky.

The key here is the three-goal mark for Chicago. When the Coyotes held the Blackhawks to less than three goals last season, they won six of the eight meetings. At home, they should be able to dictate the pace and keep this game in the range where they are better-suited to win.

[gameodds]7/218114/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

The Blackhawks and Coyotes both played on Saturday night, so there isn’t a rest advantage on either side. However, there is a difference: the Blackhawks finished up with Los Angeles early in the afternoon (playing a 3:00 PM ET start) while the Coyotes started late in Dallas (8:00 PM ET), which means they didn’t get back home until late night.

Look for Chicago’s offense to bust through in this game. They looked very strong in the opener against the Kings and they should be able to do more than enough to put this game out of the Coyotes’ range.

Also, the added element of getting some revenge on the team that ended their season last year will be on the minds of the Blackhawks. Put them down as one of your Hockey Picks in this spot.

NHL Picks: Blackhawks -116 at BetOnline