It was a small schedule yesterday, but my single free NHL pick was a winner and ensured we still earned a profit despite a small two-game schedule.
The Red Wings and Avalanche got together from Colorado and the Avalanche were a massive home favorite.
I considered the puckline, but that price was still -165-ish on most sites for the Avs. That’s a lot of juice to lay on the puckline.
Instead, I dove deeper into the numbers and they told me the over 6.5 carried nice value at +105 odds between the league third-best home offense, the league’s worst road defense, but also a home offense that’s struggled and a penalty kill that’s followed suit.
Indeed, the Red Wings opened the scoring, but a 1-0 score after one wasn’t promising for the over. Neither was a 2-1 score after two.
Thankfully, defense was optional in the third as the two teams combined for six goals, but four from the Avs in what ended up as a 6-3 Avalanche final, one of the two possible scores I mentioned in yesterday’s piece.
It was a nice winner and we’ll put it in our pocket and look towards tonight’s bigger five-game schedule!
Season Record: 82-68-1
Now let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Panthers vs. Blackhawks from Chicago!
Panthers vs. Blackhawks Betting Odds
- Panthers (+105)
- Blackhawks (-116)
- Panthers +1.5 (-240)
- Blackhawks -1.5 (+200)
- Over 6.5 (-102)
- Under 6.5 (-108)
Panthers vs. Blackhawks NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
The Panthers enter this one riding a five-game win streak that’s pulled them into a top-three spot in the Atlantic Division after a 5-4 win in Minnesota just last night.
Their offense stayed red-hot in that one as they have now averaged 26 times over their last five games, good for a cool 5.20 goals per game during the win streak.
The Panthers will now enter this one as the NHL’s best overall offense with 3.67 goals per game while their 3.32 goals per game on the road sits sixth league wide.
On the flip side, however, they’ve been one of the worst defenses in the league and have received brutal goaltending. Thankfully, they’ve been able to outscore their defensive shortcomings.
The Panthers have still allowed nearly three goals per game in their five-game win streak and rank 21st with 3.41 goals against per game on the road this season where their penalty kill sits 23rd with a 77.9% mark.
Their power play has been red-hot of late, going 8 for their last 17, good for a massive 47.1% mark over their last five games.
However, they allowed two power play goals themselves last night and have now gone just 11 for 15 over their last three, good for a 73.3% mark.
The Panthers have yet to announce a starting netminder for this one, but either way it’s not pretty.
Sergei Bobrovsky got the win despite allowing four goals as his brutal season continued last night in Minny.
If he gets the nod, he would bring a 3.25 GAA and .897 Sv% into action, but also an ghastly 3.65 GAA and .873 Sv% and a 6-7-2 mark on the road across 16 starts and 17 appearances.
If backup Sam Montembeault gets the nod, he’ll come in sporting a brutal 3.35 GAA and .888 Sv% across five starts and eight NHL appearances this season.
Montembeault has been shredded in his starts at the NHL level this season, allowing five goals in two of his last three and allowing three goals on just 26 shots against the Kings his last time out.
He owns an .863 Sv% over his last five NHL appearances.
The Panthers aren’t the only team looking to extend a winning streak to six games tonight as they themselves have won five in a row, and like the Panthers they’ve scored a lot of goals in doing so.
Their white-hot offense has averaged 4.40 goals per game over their five-game winning streak, but they still sit 22nd with just 2.92 goals per game at home this season.
Their power play has been of zero help as they sit last with just a 12.3% mark on the man advantage and they have gone just 1 for 20 (5%) on the power play during their win streak.
The offensive explosion has been nice to see of late, but the Blackhawks’ brass has to feel good about their work at the defensive end of the ice as well.
They have allowed two goals or fewer in each of their five consecutive wins and have averaged 1.80 goals against per game during that stretch.
The Blackhawks now rank 19th with an even 3.00 goals against per game at home this season, although their 34.2 shots against per game at home is the second-worst mark in the league.
Leading the way in terms of goal-prevention has been a dominant penalty kill that might sit 16th with an 80.8% mark at home, but has also posted a 93.3% mark over their last seven games in going 14 for 15 on the kill.
They’ve also received some excellent goaltending of late as well.
Looking to keep that streak going tonight will be Robin Lehner who is having another excellent season between the pipes.
Lehner will enter this one sporting a 2.81 GAA and .924 Sv% on the season along with a 2.61 GAA and .930 Sv% on home ice.
Lehner has been excellent in his last three starts, allowing just two goals each time and posting a .938 Sv% in that time.
Something has to give at the United Center tonight as someone is going to see a five-game win streak snapped.
Will it be the Panthers? While the Panthers have scored a ton of late and for most of the season, this Blackhawks defense and goaltending has been excellent of late and produced an elite penalty kill as well.
Or will it be the Blackhawks? The Panthers have outscored their defensive and goaltending woes all season and the Blackhawks have been nothing special on defense at home, overall, this season.
I’m going to side with the home team in this one.
After all, the Panthers did play just last night, and will either start a struggling Bobrovsky for the second time in as many nights or turn to Montembeault who has been gashed in his last five NHL appearances.
That’s a tough ask against a red-hot offense for either goalie, and there’s zero doubt that the Blackhawks have a sizeable goaltending advantage regardless of who starts for the Panthers in this one.
That’s good enough for me.
Give me the Blackhawks to keep their march towards a postseason spot moving forward tonight in a moneyline win over the visiting Panthers.