The Chicago.. who? Because lately it certainly hasn’t looked like the Blackhawks on the ice. The Hawks look to shake off a rough stretch of games, losing four straight. They had the Flyers on a back-to-back at home a couple nights ago, but were unable to take advantage, as the Flyers boasted their playoff chances with a 3-2 win. Corey Crawford has been day-to-day in net. Scott Darling got the call last game and couldn’t fend off the Flyers well enough. Tonight it appears he’ll be between the pipes again for the Jets in Winnipeg.
It’s been uncharacteristic of the Blackhawks, but periods of rough water is just part of the NHL schedule. You’re not going to find any team that isn’t going to have their moments of adversity. The Blackhawks have gone 3-7 in their last ten games, but still possess a record of 41-24-6. They are still in a comfortable position despite their recent problems. I feel that the Blackhawks will be ready to go come playoff time.
The Jets haven’t been playing well lately either, but this isn’t a team going to be in the playoffs, or in the hunt for a playoff seed. The Jets are winding the season down and looking forward to the offseason. It hasn’t been pleasant for Winnipeg, who were coming off a playoff appearance last year. They followed that up with a 29-36-5 campaign thus far. The Jets also traded their captain away to the Blackhawks, Andrew Ladd. Ladd will be making his return to Winnipeg tonight. Since the Jets cut ties with Ladd, the Jets have been a below .500 team.
But, you wonder, the Blackhawks haven’t exactly looked too good after Ladd came over. I’m not blaming the Hawks’ problems on that, but just an interesting note. Like I said, this stretch will be a distant memory after the Blackhawks hit the next season, the playoffs. It isn’t the nicest flight to Winnipeg, but the Blackhawks have to be focused and energized tonight. They haven’t been great on the road, with a 17-14-4, but taking tonight off isn’t advised. Find my pick for this matchup below.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Winnipeg Jets NHL Pick
Take a look at these numbers for the Blackhawks in their last ten games. They have gone 3-7, while scoring 2.20 goals and allowing 3.30 goals. If those numbers were flipped, 3.30 goals in favor of the Blackhawks, then the numbers wouldn’t look like a typo. However, as it is, Chicago has had it tough of late. On the season the Blackhawks are 8th in the NHL in goals, with 2.76 goals per game, and 8th on defense, allowing 2.46 goals. So, it isn’t as bad if you were just going by what they’ve been doing lately.
The Jets haven’t been good now and haven’t really been good at all this season. Winnipeg has scored 2.40 goals in their past ten games, on average. Conversely, on the defensive end they have given up 3 goals a game. If we take a look at their season long numbers, it’s generally been a similar story for them in Winnipeg. The Jets are 21st in the league scoring and 26th on defense. I suspect Andrew Ladd is going to be especially fired up for this game. His tenure in Winnipeg didn’t end so well.
I see some tremendous value in my opinion in this game. I’m feeling that the Blackhawks put a complete game together and look more like the Chicago team we have been accustomed of watching. Due in part to head coach Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks should have their heads on straight. I’m going to bypass the Blackhawks straight up and expect them to win this one by at least 2 goals. The price is right for me at +186.
PICK: BLACKHAWKS -1.5 (+186)