There isn’t much intrigue to this matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers. It is an Original Six showdown, though, so that adds some interest. The only thing I am concerned with is cashing in on this rather meaningless game. A few years ago a matchup between the Blackhawks and Rangers would have been far from meaningless. The Blackhawks are only four years removed from winning the Stanley Cup in 2015.
There was a perception that the Hawks were not going to be able to sustain that success, though. No way were they going to be able to pay everyone while shelling out top dollar for Pat Kane and Jonathan Toews. They would have walked otherwise, but it’s not a winning formula. 35-year-old Duncan Keith, who has shown he can’t keep up with the younger players in the league, is burning a hole in their wallet.
In a contract that goes all the way to the 2022-23 season, Keith started to show significant signs of decline last season and it’s continued in 2018-19. On top of the Keith contract, the Blackhawks are saddled with the contract of Brent Seabrook. Seabrook is around until 2023-24 and is making 6.8 million in every year. At 33 years old, no one is going to take on that contract in a trade.
If the 8 goals they allowed against the Devils is any indication, the Hawks have been getting trounced defensively. Corey Crawford is still out as he hopes to recover from a concussion, but what’s it matter at this point if he comes back? I think he’d rather sit out rather than get no support from the rest of his teammates. The Rangers have faced similar struggles this season, though we’ve seen a little better effort out of them. Head below for our free Blackhawks vs. Rangers pick.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. N.Y. Rangers Pick
Without a healthy Crawford, the Blackhawks have been relying on Cam Ward and Colin Delia in net. Ward is the wily veteran that steered the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup way back in 2006. He’s still out there trying his best, but his best isn’t at an optimal level in 2019. Ward got shellacked for 6 goals before he was replaced with Delia. Delia allowed a goal in the 8-5 loss to the Devils.
The Devils have been okay offensively this season, but looks like the best offence in the league against Chicago. And with that result, the Blackhawks have allowed 4 or more goals in their last four games. Overall, they are threatening to overtake the Senators as the worst defence in the NHL.
They’ve given up an average of 3.71 goals per game for 30th in the league. Their net has gotten hammered with an average of 38.2 shots per game. Further, in their last ten games, that number has escalated to 4 goals per game. The road paints a dreary picture as well, with 3.96 goals allowed per game. They have to get younger legs out there to keep up with some of these fast teams in the league, but the contract situation makes it difficult. They did win championships, though, so there is the trade off.
Like I said, the Rangers have been enduring some of the same hiccups on their team. They’ve given up 4 goals per game in their previous ten outings as well. In six of their last eight games, the Rangers have surrendered 4 or more goals. The Blackhawks have had some more offence during that stretch, with an average of 3.4 goals per game compared to 2.7 for the Rangers. Combined the Blackhawks and Rangers are allowing 72.3 shots per game. There are going to be scoring chances galore. Barring some unlucky breaks and bounces, the OVER should be a winner at MSG on Thursday.