I couldn’t capitalize on last night’s three-game NHL schedule as I went 0-1-1 with my two free pick on Sunday.
The pish came between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars as I took the over five-goal total with the idea that a 2-2 game would at least net me a push. That was indeed the case as the game sat 2-2 at the end of regulation before the Wild went on to win 3-2 in a shootout as slight home dogs.
Later on, the Canucks and Oilers completed their weekend back-to-back after the Canucks won a 5-2 affair in Edmonton on Saturday. I took them to sweep the weekend set, however the Oilers came back from a 2-1 deficit with a pair of Leon Draisaitl tallies and got their eenge with a 3-2 upset win on the road.
Let’s look to get back on the winning track on tonight’s five-game NHL schedule!
Season Record: 32-29-1
Let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Blues vs. Blackhawks in a Central Division clash from the United Center in Chicago!
Blues vs. Blackhawks Betting Odds
- Blues (-125)
- Blackhawks (+114)
- Blues -1.5 (+190)
- Blackhawks +1.5 (-220)
- Over 6 (+113)
- Under 6 (-125)
Blues vs. Blackhawks NHL Pick Breakdown
The Blues enter this one with a Western Conference-leading 40 points on the season, thanks in part to their stout 9-2-3 record away from home.
They’ll also enter this one riding a three-game win streak as they earned wins in their final two games of a three-game road trip before knocking off the Penguins 5-2 on Saturday night in a brief one-game road trip.
The Blues are a team that doesn’t sport the best of advanced stats but continues to get the job done.
Their offense has hung in there well in the absence of Vladimir Tarasenko as they rank 13th with 3.07 goals per game on the season and 11th with a slightly-increased 3.14 mark on the road.
While the goal-scoring has been solid, they continue to win on defense and goaltending, both of which have been more than up to par of late.
The Blues’ 2.57 goals against per game on the season rank fifth in the NHL while their 2.79 goals against per game on the road ranks seventh in the show. Their 83.8% mark on the penalty kill ranks ninth in the league and their 82.9% mark away from home sits tied for eight alongside these Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blues’ defense has allowed just three goals over their last two games and just 2.40 goals per game over their last 10. They’ve also allowed just four goals across their last two games away from home.
The play of Jordan Binnington has been the topic of discussion around the team, but it’s going to be Jake Allen getting the starting nod tonight, and he’s been brilliant of late as well.
Furthermore, he’s posted a .944 Sv% over his last four outings and a .958 Sv% over his last two starts.
The Blackhawks rattled off four consecutive wins in the middle of November, but they’ll enter the month of December on a cold stretch.
They’ve dropped five of their last six games and were swept by the rival Colorado in harsh fashion over the weekend while being outscored 12-5 in the back-to-back set.
They’ve also been decimated by the injury bug which will certainly make things tougher tonight against the Blues.
The Blackhawks will be without Dylan Strome, Duncan Keith, Andrew Shaw, Drake Caggiula and goaltender Robin Lehner for this one tonight. Strome and Keith’s absences are of particular importance as both resided on the top power play unit while Strome’s production as the second-line center has improved of late. He’ll miss this one with a concussion tonight.
It would appear a Blackhawks offense that ranks 21st in both overall scoring (2.85 goals per game) and home scoring (3.00 goals per game) will face some adversity tonight.
The bigger concern, however, is the back end after allowing 12 goals to the Avalanche over the weekend.
To be clear, the Blackhawks’ back end has actually made great strides from their 30th-ranking last season. Their currently sit in a tie for 16th overall with 3.00 goals against per game and 17th with 2.80 goals against per game at home. Their penalty kill ranks 10th with an 80.5% mark on the season, however that number dips slightly to 78.7% at home, which checks in at 23rd in the league.
With Lehner out, it will be up to Corey Crawford to bounce back from a real tough weekend versus the Avs.
Crawford was fully responsible for the loss on Friday when he allowed five goals on just 23 shots before he allowed two goals on 15 shots in relief of the injured Lehner on Saturday. His weekend save percentage finished at a ghastly .816.
For the season, Crawford has posted a 2.97 GAA and .912 Sv%, but he improves to a 2.66 GAA and .917 Sv% on home ice across eight outings.
This is going to be a tough one for the Blackhawks despite skating on home ice.
Not only are they facing the best team in their conference, they’re doing so with multiple regulars missing from their lineup. Important regulars that are substantial special teams contributors, as well.
The Blues are without Tarasenko and have been for some time, but their stout defense, quality goaltending and scoring depth as allowed them to move forward without skipping a beat.
If this game were in St. Louis, we’d be looking at odds around -200 or more for the Blues in this one. We are getting them at quality -125 odds despite a litany of injuries to the Blackhawks and the fact the Blues are 9-2-3- on the road.
Simply put, I’m not thinking twice about rostering the road side in this one tonight.