The ice cold Chicago Blackhawks play the fourth game of a five-game road trip on Saturday night in Calgary at the Saddledome. It’s been a slow road trip for the Blackhawks, as they hope to snap a five-game losing streak tonight. They’ve lost all of their contests on the road, with losses against the Jets, Oilers, and Canucks during this road trip. The Blackhawks also had a loss against the Wild on February 4 in Minnesota.
There was faint hope that the Blackhawks could get hot and flirt with the playoffs, but this five-game skid might be what seals their fate. The Blackhawks have also lost six of their last seven games, which sets them back to 25-24-8 on the season. They were close to turning a big corner, but fell flat when the kitchen started to heat up.
Chicago has slipped hard to last in the Central Division with 58 points. They’re not out of the wildcard race, but did themselves a serious disservice recently. There are four teams between them and the final wildcard, which is currently held by the Arizona Coyotes. It’s only 6 points, but that’s a lot further than it looks with the amount of traffic around them in the Western Conference.
Jeremy Colliton will likely be back on the hot seat if the season continues to trend south and they can’t finish hard. Bruce Boudreau was the latest bench boss to get fired this season, who became the eighth head coach to get fired during the regular season. Nobody is safe in the NHL and Colliton should already be well aware of that. What I likely see happening is that Colliton goes into next season as the head coach, but with a short leash. If things are going badly early on, it might be tough for him to get out of 2020 in Chicago.
The Flames nevertheless can’t take the Blackhawks lightly here. There is talent on their roster that can make for a tough night if they’re not careful. The Flames have played well recently and can make it four wins in five outings with a solid performance at home tonight. They enter with a 3-point deficit in the Pacific Division, but would get in as a wildcard if the playoffs started today. They’re tied with the Oilers and Golden Knights for 2nd in the division, while the Canucks continue to fend off the competition. Head below for our free Blackhawks vs. Flames pick.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Calgary Flames Betting Odds:
Blackhawks vs. Flames Prediction:
The Flames did not show up to play at the Staples Center on Wednesday night. But, they did decide to play the following night in Anaheim. Following a 5-3 loss against the Kings, the Flames responded in a big way for a 6-0 victory. Teams need wake up calls throughout the season, and maybe the loss against the Kings actually helps them out.
Despite the loss versus the Kings, the Flames have won three of their last four games, with 6 goals scored in all of the wins. Their offence was looking incredibly stagnant, but they might be turning it on at the right moment. The Pacific is so incredibly wide open that it’s hard to say what’s going to happen, but the Flames have the talent to play better than what their offence has generally presented this season.
Calgary is 22nd in the NHL with 2.78 goals scored per game. They can do a lot better than that, but it’s been rather inconsistent and up and down for the Flames. Just last season, the Flames were 3rd with 3.52 goals per game. Keep in mind that they have the same core in place now. James Neal is gone, but Neal was a non-factor in Calgary, hence why he isn’t a Flame any longer.
The offence has been heating up for the Flames lately, though, and that could continue. Perhaps they will be late bloomers in the 2019-20 campaign. And if that’s the case, they’re likely going to the playoffs. The Flames have scored 3.6 goals a game in their previous ten outings. They’ve also gotten a bit of a boost at the Saddledome, with 2.96 goals scored per game. Conversely, the Blackhawks have not been getting it done offensively. They’ve played well in waves this year, but even more consistent than the Flames.
Chicago has failed to score more than 3 goals since a 5-2 win against the Jets on January 19. Since then, the Hawks have averaged only 1.7 goals in regulation. The offence was ineffective in their last meeting versus the Flames, as they had to live with a 2-1 loss last month. Calgary has thoroughly dominated Chicago, having won seven of their previous eight games. I will take my chances on the Flames at home, who seem to be picking up momentum, and should be able to develop more on Saturday night.