According to NHL betting odds the Blackhawks are a -170 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.5. These two clubs have seen 5 of their last 6 meetings go under the total. The home team has won 5 of the last 6 meetings between these clubs.
Hawks Short Circuiting the Lamp
Chicago has been on an absolute scoring tear over their last 6-games. The Hawks have scored 31-goals combined during that span for an average of 5.2 goals per game. Oh, and by the way, they won 5 of those 6-games as well. It’s by no surprise that they lead the NHL averaging 3.6 goals per game. Chicago will be playing on 2-days of rest, and this will be the first of a 3-game in 8-day home stand. The Hawks do have one glaring flaw in their game right now. Their penalty killing is a terrible 28th in the NHL. They’ve killed off just 74.6% of their opponent’s power play chances on the season. Chicago is first in the Central Division 7-points ahead of the 2nd place St. Louis Blues, and are first overall in the Western Conference 2-points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks.
A Temporary Cool Down
The Vancouver Canucks had their 7-game winning streak halted in a 3-2 overtime shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. At the time of this writing the Canucks still had a game to play on Thursday night at Dallas before taking on Chicago. This is a particularly grueling part of the schedule for Vancouver. The game against the Hawks will be their 2nd set of 3-games in 4-days, over the last 2-weeks. This will also be their 5th game in the last 8-days. Entering Thursday night’s action the Canucks were 4th in the Pacific Division, and 7th overall in the Western Conference.
This is one of those situations that I am going to pass on making a free NHL pick. It would be very difficult to play again an underdog of this size, like the Vancouver Canucks, that’s playing so well right now. Contrarily, it would be also be difficult to fade a Chicago team that’s well rested, at home, and scoring goals by the bushel full over the last couple of weeks. There are times when the best play is no play. This qualifies as one of those times.