I made a trio of free NHL picks last night but took a 1-1 split as my third pick was unfortunately involved in a scary incident that resulted in a postponement in Anaheim.
My loss came first between the Jets and Rangers as I had the Jets to win their fourth in a row on the moneyline at -117 odds.
Unfortunately, the team that had won three in a row and the last two by identical 5-2 scores at home was nowhere to be found as the Rangers took a 2-0 lead into the third period and never looked back in a 4-1 Rangers final.
Things worked out better in Colorado where I had the Avalanche to beat the Senators by at least two goals on the puckline at -103 odds.
The Sens, like they’ve done most of the season, fought hard against a far superior club as the game sat just 1-0 Avalanche after two. However, the Avs added a power play marker in the third along with an empty-netter and prevailed by a 3-0 final.
However, hockey took a backseat in Anaheim where Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester collapsed and suffered a cardiac event on the Blues’ bench with the score tied 1-1 in the first period.
It was nice to hear after the game was postponed that Bouwmeester was alert and responsive on his way to the hospital, but thoughts and prayers are going to he and his family in what is surely a terrifying time for those involved.
In terms of my picks, the 1-1 night cost us 0.17 units thanks to the Jets moneyline loss, so I’ll put it behind me and work on tonight’s three-game schedule!
Season Record: 93-81-1
Now let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Blackhawks vs. Canucks from Rogers Arena in Vancouver!
Blackhawks vs. Canucks Betting Odds
- Blackhawks (+130)
- Canucks (-144)
- Blackhawks +1.5 (-190)
- Canucks -1.5 (+165)
- Over 6.5 (+107)
- Under 6.5 (-118)
Blackhawks vs. Canucks NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
Tonight marks the second game in as many nights for the Blackhawks after dropping a 5-3 decision last night in Edmonton, a loss that marked their fourth in a row as they slide further away from the playoff picture in the west.
While the offense hasn’t showed up over the losing skid, their play on defense has been the bigger concern.
Last night marked the second straight game in which Chicago surrendered five goals after taking a 5-2 licking in Winnipeg on Saturday.
They allowed just one goal on home ice to the Bruins in their game prior to that one, but have still allowed 3.75 goals per game during the four-game losing skid.
Now, the Blackhawks have slipped into a share of 17th with 3.21 goals against per game on the road this season.
On the surface, that number isn’t too bad but keep in mind the Blackhawks have actually received quality goaltending away from home where their .912 Sv% from the Robin Lehner/Corey Crawford duo checks in at 10th.
So, how can you rank 10th in save percentage but fall to 17th in goals against? By allowing a ton of shots on goal.
The 36.5 shots per game the Blackhawks have surrendered on the road this season ranks dead last in the NHL and their -6.1 average shot differential on the road checks in at a share of 30th.
Of course, their advanced possession metrics aren’t favorable, either.
At 5v5 on the road, the Blackhawks rank 22nd with a 47.07% Corsi For%, 26th with a 45% Scoring Chances For% and 29th with a brutal 41.25% High-Danger Chances For%.
They went on a real good stretch of quality penalty killing until late as well as they’ve gone just 6 for 10 on the kill over their last two games and face a real good power play tonight.
Offensively, they’ve also struggled of late as they’re tied for 14th with 2.96 goals per game on the road but have averaged just 2.00 goals per game over the current losing skid.
Their power play is actually better on the road than at home, but still ranks 22nd with a 16% mark.
Getting the nod in goal tonight should be Crawford after Lehner struggled last night in Edmonton.
Crawford has actually been good this season as he would carry a 2.92 GAA and .912 Sv% into action across 28 starts.
He’s also been quite good on the road as well, turning in a 2.91 GAA and .917 Sv% in 13 starts and 14 appearances away from home.
Finally, Crawford has been real good in the month of February, posting a 2.57 GAA and .927 Sv% in three outings after posting a dominant 2.02 GAA and .930 Sv% in five January starts.
While the Blackhawks enter having lost four in a row the Canucks just snapped a four-game losing skid of their own with a 6-2 blasting of the visiting Nashville Predators on Monday night.
The win now only snapped a losing streak but also a cold streak on offense for a team that’s been very good in that department this season as the Canucks averaged only 1.75 goals per game during the four-game skid.
The six-goal outburst isn’t a surprise at home, however, as the Canucks sit fourth with 3.67 goals per game at home this season where their power play checks in at sixth with a 26.4% clip.
Defensively, the Canucks have been real good at home as well, ranking comfortably inside the top 10 at ninth with 2.63 goals against per game at Rogers Arena this season.
Their penalty kill hasn’t been all that great with a 79.5% mark that puts them in a tie for 21st league wide at home.
Add up the elite offense and quality defense at home and the Canucks have gone 18-6-3 at home for the second-best home record in the Western Conference.
The possession numbers at home haven’t been great, however.
At 5v5 on home ice, the Canucks sit 26th with a 47.98% Corsi For%, 29th with a 46.66% Scoring Chances For% and 27th with a 48.87% High-Danger Chances For%.
They’ve been able to generate that excellent home offense on the back of a league-best 10.19% 5v5 shooting percentage combined with the excellent power play.
Speaking of excellent, that’s precisely what goaltender Jacob Markstrom has been for this team this season in what amounted to an All-Star nod.
He’s not confirmed to start, but he snapped a cold stretch of his own with a 38-save outing (.947 SV%) against the Predators on Monday and the Canucks don’t play again until Sunday.
Markstrom would enter this one sporting a 2.81 GAA and .915 Sv% on the season in 40 outings while he’s been notably better at home where he’s posted a 2.57 GAA and .923 SV% with an 11-6-2 record in 19 starts.
He allowed 16 goals in his previous four starts prior to allowing just two to a very good Nashville road offense on Monday.
While it’s not a case of two teams heading in opposite directions as the Canucks remain just 1-4-0 in their last five, this is just a very tough scenario for the Blackhawks.
On top of the back-to-back scenario, they face a Canucks home offense that’s dominated this season and is coming off a confidence-boosting six-goal showing over the Preds just two nights ago to snap a losing streak of their own.
The end of their losing streak not only saw their offense snap out of a funk but also their goaltender and defense as a whole.
One extra added motivation tongiht could to be to win this one for the Sedins and Daniela and Henrik will see their jerseys head to the Rogers Arena rafters in a jersey retirement ceremony that will be held prior to the game. The crowd in attendance will be ferocious for the home side in this one.
I expected the first-place Canucks to be at least -170 favorites for this one, so I’m really liking their moneyline odds of -144 here.
While I also like the three-way moneyline odds of +100 and the puckline odds of +165, I’ll still with the reasonable moneyline odds here and have the Canucks win this one straight up.