We lost our first featured game of the season on Tuesday, January 22nd, but after a night-off yesterday evening, we’re back with a busy Thursday slate of games in the NHL. For tonight’s main write-up, we’ll head to the state of Texas where the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks take their game into Dallas to battle the Stars.
Chicago Blackhawks (-125) @ Dallas Stars (+105)
The Blackhawks have looked like a team that’s simply on a mission in the early going this season. Since the opening puck drop last Saturday afternoon against the Kings, Chicago seems dead-set on regaining their reputation as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
Many thought Chicago’s Achilles heel would be in between the pipes, but when Corey Crawford has played, he’s been stellar. Crawford is a talented, young netminder and his play should only improve from here on out. Besides, when you play for a team that’s as loaded on defense and up front as the Blackhawks, all Crawford must do is give his team a shot to win games.
In Dallas, things aren’t going quite as well. Though they signed Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney to free-agent contracts in the off-season, their star forward Jamie Benn remains a holdout as he’s yet to collect a new contract. Benn is far and away the Stars most talented play-maker and goal-scorer, and their offense without him appears to be anaemic. Dallas has struggled to muster offense, and against a stingy Chicago defense, that won’t change. Though they’ve been solid in their own zone and Kari Lehtonen is a top netminder in the league, going against a Chicago squad as loaded as they are will be no easy feat. The likes of Toews, Kane, Hossa, and Sharp will wear down Dallas and will keep their winning streak going.
Chicago has been rolling with three straight victories, and they should face minimal resistance in making it four on Thursday night. The depth and talent of the Hawks line-up will overwhelm a very ordinary Stars line-up. Expect a comfortable road win for the Blackhawks in this one, as Chicago advances their record to a perfect 4-0 for the first time since the 1972-1973 campaign.
PICK = Blackhawks (-125)
Despite a lengthy list of NHL games on the betting board this Thursday, only one other potential wager stands out for us tonight. We’ve gone 10-3 with these selections thus far in the 2013 season and hope that continues tonight.
Bonus Pick #1: Los Angeles (-125) The Kings have gotten off to a horrific start this season and seem like the latest team to endure the dreaded “Stanley Cup Hangover.” That said, they should snap out of it Thursday night as they take on the team everybody seems to beat, the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers looked pathetic a couple of nights ago, getting routed by the San Jose Sharks. Though they’ll be hungry to turn in a better performance in front of their hometown fans, the Kings will match their intensity to get their first win of the season. It’ll take time for the Kings to round into form, but with superstar Anze Kopitar back healthy, look for L.A. to emerge victorious against a young Oilers squad.