We’re past the mid-way point of February, but not much as changed for the Chicago Blackhawks. They started the year off a little tipsy, and a lot of people expected them to flip it around eventually. The Blackhawks never put the foot down on the gas pedal, and they’re basically still stuck in the same position. The subtraction of Corey Crawford to the lineup did nothing but hurt them more.
However, the Blackhawks weren’t exactly hitting their stride when he was healthy, either. The loss of Crawford just made things worse, but I don’t think they were going to go anywhere with him in net. The offence wasn’t helping him out any, as they were winning games on the back of Crawford alone. Now that they’ve been trying to figure out the goaltending position, the Blackhawks are finding it even more difficult to find wins. It certainly looks like it’s the end of an era for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Hawks are a 24-26-7 hockey team, with the hopes of a playoff appearance looking really dim at the moment. They are 12 points out of the playoffs, so alive, but barely breathing. Chicago are currently on a seven-game losing streak, which I think cemented their future and no playoff appearance. You can’t go losing like that this time of the year and expect to be a playoff team in a couple of months.
They’ve just never been able to get over the hump that has been holding them back this season. Certainly this doesn’t take anything away from what Pat Kane and Jonathan Toews have done with this team in the past. They could retire tomorrow and have already accomplished more than nearly every player in the NHL. With a Stanley Cup in 2015 and 2010, they’re already etched into history. It’s tough for management to keep good teams like that together, though. When everyone is looking to get paid, and a good chunk of cash is going to three players, there must be some give elsewhere on the roster. The Caps come in atop the Metro with 73 points. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Blackhawks pick on Saturday night.
Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks Pick
The Capitals are on the third leg of their four-game road trip. Thus far they’ve lost to the Jets in overtime and a 5-2 win over the Wild. The Jets have been great at home this season, and would really benefit from getting home ice advantage in the playoffs. In their last ten games, the Capitals won five and dropped five, so it’s been just okay for them. Nevertheless, they’re 3 points up on the Pens in the division. Even though they’ve gone .500, during that ten-game stretch, the Caps scored an average of 3.6 goals per game. They did, however, allow 3.3 per game.
The Blackhawks have been finding it hard to score the puck, though. On the season they have scored 2.79 goals per game for 22nd in the NHL. In their last ten, they’ve netted just 2.1 per while allowing 3.4 goals per game. It’s been a crapshoot in net with Jeff Glass and Anton Forsberg. Glass was placed on waivers a couple of days ago, so it’s all Forsberg’s job now. Forsberg holds a 3.06 GAA and 0.907 save percentage. He’s allowed at least 3 goals in his last four games. In three of four games his save percentage fell below 0.90. There isn’t much the Hawks can do about their goaltending issues. The Capitals have made easy work of the Blackhawks in their most recent meetings, as they’ve won seven of eight games. I don’t see how the Caps’ offence doesn’t exploit the Blackhawks tonight and take a win at the Madhouse.
PICK: CAPITALS (-120)