The Chicago Blackhawks sure weren’t looking too good recently. They lost four straight games and six of seven. Chicago went out and calmed some nerves, with a couple wins over the Flames and Canucks. They return back easterly where the Minnesota Wild will be waiting for them in Minnesota. The Blackhawks have been a death sentence for the Wild in the playoffs in recent years. The Wild have been automatic outs whenever they dance in the postseason with Chicago. However, has there been a change of fortunes of late? You aren’t reading this wrong, the Wild have beaten the Blackhawks in four straight games. The last Hawks’ win came all the way back on October 5th. But still, these past four games are not playoff games, which always seems to be the road block for the Wild.
The Wild are fighting for their playoff lives right now, so this would be as big of a wins as they come against the Blackhawks. They do, however, hold a 95% chance of reaching the playoffs. It would be some kind of collapse if they lose out. This matchup could yet again be a preview of a series in the playoffs. Considering how poorly the Blackhawks were playing before their visit to western Canada, they should be looking to stay crisp and keep those vibes going. I am one of those people who say that the Blackhawks will be fine come the playoffs, but if they couldn’t break out of this funk, I will certainly be leery.
Patrick Kane has broken off from the rapid pace he was playing at, but that was to be expected. Statistical variance was going to play catch up with him eventually. Nevertheless, he still leads the league with 94 points. Just like I think of the team as a whole, Kane should be in prime shape come the playoffs.
Some people want to call it tired legs and fatigue, and others say the Blackhawks were regressing because of pure boredom. I say, it’s just the nature of the NHL schedule. Look it, the Blackhawks are 44-25-7. Blackhawks fans, cool down, have a drink, and relax. How do you think I feel as a fan of the Maple Leafs? All of us Leafs’ fans would gladly switch spots with you. In any event, the Blackhawks will look to avoid another defeat at the hands of the Wild tonight.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild NHL Pick
Scott Darling has been getting some work in net lately for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury, so it’s been up to Darling between the pipes. Darling is a mixed bag, he’s always been a guy fans like to put the blame on if Crawford isn’t in net. Crawford is the superior goaltender and they will look to him in the playoffs, but Darling has had some positive moments. What against the Wild, though? Actually, he hasn’t had many positive moments against them. Darling has posted a 3.36 GAA and 0.89 save percentage against Minnesota. He’s also worse on the road this season, where he holds a 2.72 GAA.
Devan Dubnyk has been one of those guys you can love one game and hate the next. Nonetheless, Dubnyk made the All-Star Game this season and has reinvented himself since coming to Minnesota from the Oilers. However, he has never had too many shining moments against the Blackhawks. Dubnyk has posted a 3.03 GAA in his career against the Hawks. He is coming of a stellar performance against the Avalanche, a 4-0 shutout.
I think he is bound to not be as efficient against the Hawks. Minnesota is on a five game winning streak, bolstering their playoff bid in a big way. I don’t like betting on the “due” factor in sports. The Blackhawks look due to hit against the Wild, but you’ll become poor betting that way. With Darling in net, I don’t feel nearly as confident backing Chicago. He is so hot and cold. I’m going to opt for the OVER, with two goaltenders in net who have historically performed poorly against their opposition.
PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-115)