NHL Picks: Blackhawks vs. Coyotes

David Lawrence

Thursday, February 7, 2013 3:22 PM GMT

The Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes played a fiery first round playoff series in 2012. On Thursday, the Coyotes will try to be the first team to hand the Blackhawks a regulation loss this season.

The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…

That’s all they do. They are the only team in the NHL that has yet to lose in regulation and they are 6-0-2 on the road. They’ve only played two home games, which is the fewest in the NHL.

The Blackhawks play well in Phoenix as they are 8-3-2 in their last 13 trips there. Goaltender Corey Crawford is 4-1-1 in his last six starts there with a 1.87 GAA.

The Coyotes are a team that relies on defense but as long as the Blackhawks dictate the pace and make this game about offense, they’ll get the win.

The Phoenix Coyotes Can Win Because…

They’ve righted the ship. After starting the year 1-4-0, the Coyotes have clawed their way back to .500 at 4-4-2. They have won two straight while allowing just one goal in the process. The Coyotes are all about defense and if goaltender Mike Smith is going lead the way just as he has in these two most recent games, the Coyotes can again be a playoff team.

The Blackhawks haven’t lost in regulation yet but they’re getting awfully close. They had to erase two two-goal deficits on Tuesday night in San Jose and have had to come from behind in each of their last five wins and in their two shootout losses. This is a team that’s played from behind quite a bit. As long as the Coyotes defense can protect the lead, they’ll be in good position to notch the win.

[gameodds]7/218231/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & Pick

The Blackhawks are among the league leaders with 33 goals this season and even though they are on the road, they should be able to make this game all about offense. The Coyotes recent two wins have come at home to Minnesota and Dallas. Chicago is in a different class and that’s why they are favored on the NHL odds boards. Take the Blackhawks for your hockey picks in this matchup.

Free NHL Picks: Blackhawks -115 at Bookmaker