Winnipeg & Chicago Coast 'Under' the Total in Windy City

Dana Lane

Friday, January 12, 2018 12:48 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 12:48 PM UTC

A tight, hard-checking series between the Jets and Blackhawks has produced 7 'unders' in the last 11 meetings, and we expect another; the puck drops between Central Division rivals Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET.


Winnipeg Jets at Chicago BlackhawksFree NHL Pick: Under 6Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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I normally wouldn’t consider playing an UNDER with Winnipeg unless there was a six involved and I was certain that the opposition had a chance to limit the chances of the Jets' four-line attack. However, when you think about Jets hockey you also have to factor in what a fantastic defense team is is in allowing just 2.73 goals per game (12th). Much of the praise belongs to Connor Hellebuyck, who was just named to the All-Star team. Hellebuyck, who is the confirmed starter Friday, is a sparkling 23-4-6 with a 2.36 goals-against average and an impressive .923 save percentage. He’s a guy finally growing into his 6-foot-4 frame, which means he’ll have more endurance, allowing the Jets to lean on him more. He’s playing with strength and confidence. This will be the first time this season that Paul Maurice will play a goaltender in back-to-back games.

With all his success, this game is a revenge spot for him because the last time Hellebuyck took a regulation loss was to the Blackhawks on Dec. 14. Other than the loss to Chicago, the Jets netminder has earned a point for his team in nine starts since. He’s allowed just 19 goals over that run, so if you think the Jets are an automatic OVER play, you need to take into account what they bring to the table defensively.

Many thought that the injury to Mark Scheifele would hurt the Jets' ability to score, and not only has that not been the case but they seem to be even better on the blueline. Since the injury, the Jets have allowed just 13 goals in the six games without Scheifele, who is expected to be out 6-8 weeks.

I was surprised by the effort the Blackhawks put forward against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday in a 2-1 loss. Coming off an 8-2 thrashing of the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, the best they could come up with against the Wild was a Brent Seabrook goal, his first since the first game of the season. If Joel Quenneville is being honest, I think he’ll tell that he can’t put his finger on the pulse of this team.

The Hawks will be a strong second-half follow, but the quicker Corey Crawford gets back in net the better. With last night’s loss the ‘Hawks have fallen out of the last wild card spot. Until then, it appears that Anton Forsberg is getting stronger the more he plays. Of the two goals he gave up Wednesday, one was a complete fluke. The starter for Chicago hasn’t officially been named, but if it's Forsberg I think you can feel safe with this play.

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