The New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks will engage in one of Monday’s mismatches. However, even though the Blackhawks are a massive -200 favorite, keep in mind that they’re just 2-2 in their last four games while the Devils are 3-0-1 in that span. Maybe New Jersey can spark a surprise?
The New Jersey Devils can win because…
They’ve been very competitive of late. Sure, the season hasn’t gone as they planned but in the Eastern Conference, a playoff run is never too late. As a matter of fact, if you look at the standings today, the Devils would be on the inside of the playoff cut.
New Jersey has won three of four and is 4-2-1 in their last seven, but if you take a look at the losses, they’ve all come by exactly one goal. They have only lost by more than a goal once in their last 13 games, which indicates that they are in every contest. That’s why they’re worth a look for your NHL picks on Monday.
The Chicago Blackhawks can win because…
Nobody beats the Blackhawks when they are focused. Chicago occasionally takes nights off – like on Friday night in a 3-2 home loss to Vancouver or a 7-3 loss in Toronto last Saturday – but otherwise, they have been tearing up the competition. Those are the only two losses the Blackhawks have suffered in their last seven games.
Even though the team is without Corey Crawford, backup Antti Raanta has been fantastic at home. He’s posted a GAA of 1.38 and a save percentage of .932 in front of the home audience. Teamed with Chicago’s explosive offense, this is a tough team to beat at the United Center.
Outlook & Pick
Be careful betting the Blackhawks on the NHL odds here. It’s the last day before the Christmas break, so who knows where everyone’s focus is at. On top of that, the Blackhawks are just 12-2-5 (or 12-7) at home, which isn’t so hot considering they are 25-7-6 on the year. The Devils have won two straight in this series and the Blackhawks are without goaltender Corey Crawford.
I still expect Chicago to win but there are too many yellow signs warning me not to lay the juice or the puck line. Instead, I’ll bet the under. Antti Raanta has allowed two goals or less in 11 of his 12 starts this year and I’ll bank on that trend continuing to lead us to another under.
Pick: Under 5.5 at TheGreek