I’m now 2-0 with my NHL picks on the season after the Vancouver Canucks laid a beatdown on the rival Los Angeles Kings last night by a score of 8-2.
The Canucks jumped out to an early 2-0 start in the first period and scored the next goal to make it 3-0 in the second, already accumulating enough offense to win this one. For good measure, they tacked on another five tallies to give the crowd more than what they paid for in their home-opening 8-2 blowout of the Kings.
With the Canucks in regulation, I notched my second straight winner, this time at +100 odds, giving us two consecutive winners at +100 odds or better to open the season.
As noted in yesterday’s piece, I’ll be keeping track of my record and units won over the course of the season so you can follow along with the success!
- Season Record: 2-0
- Units: +2.40
- $100 Units = $240 Profit
Let’s move onto what is my second pick of the night on this heavy 11-game NHL schedule featuring the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks from the United Center in Chicago.
Sharks vs. Blackhawks Betting Odds
*Odds courtesy of Bovada
Sharks vs. Blackhawks NHL Pickk
The San Jose Sharks marched all the way to the Western Conference Final a season ago, eventually falling to the eventual Cup-winning Blues in six games. If all goes to plan this season, the Sharks will find themselves right in the thick of Stanley Cup contention again this time around, however, they’ll need to tighten up on the back end.
Through the first four games of the NHL season, the Sharks are allowing 4.25 goals per game – losing all four in the process. They dropped back-to-back games to open the season to the Vegas Golden Knights, getting outscored 9-2 in the process. Then came a disappointing loss against a projected non-playoff club in Anaheim before taking a 5-2 lashing against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
For one reason or another, this club gives up far too much offense than it should. However, when you look at the highly-touted Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson on the blueline, it’s not difficult to remember that both players are offense-first defensemen who can be liabilities from a defensive standpoint quite often. The duo are a horrendous -11 combined to begin the season.
That said, the defensive aspect of the game hasn’t been the only reason for the ugly start as their offense has struggled mightily as well. They have faced three good defensive clubs to begin the season and some good goaltenders at that, however, they’ve still managed just 1.25 goals per game and scored just once in each of their first three games of the season. The club just brought back Patrick Marleau in an attempt to increase their depth up front.
Tonight marks just the second game of the season for the Blackhawks as they won a 4-3 affair over the Philadelphia Flyers in their Global Series contest last week from the Czech Republic. As a result, tonight marks the home-opener in front of what should be a raucous home crowd at the United Center.
The Blackhawks’ main issue in falling short of the postseason last year was defense. The club finished 30th in team defense a season ago, allowing 3.55 goals per game. Thankfully, the issue was addressed with authority in the offseason. GM Stan Bowman signed goaltender Robin Lehner coming off a Vezina-nominated season with the New York Islanders to share time in goal with the oft-injured Corey Crawford. Bowman also traded for defense-first blueliner Olli Maatta from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Calvin de Haan from the Carolina Hurricanes, although de Haan is sidelined to begin the season.
Nonetheless, expect an improved Blackhawks defensive club this season – although the extent to which is an unknown at this point. What we do know, however, is that this club should be a dangerous team on offense again this time around.
What fell under the radar in a difficult 2018-19 was the fact Chicago’s offense ranked eighth with 3.26 goal per game. That put them ahead of teams such as the Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins and just behind the Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins. Their top-six forward group is suddenly one of the more dangerous groups in the league with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome aboard.
As a result, I think the Chicago offense could give a struggling Sharks defense problems in this one. The Hawks will take on backup Aaron Dell in this one after the 30-year-old took a 3-1 loss in Anaheim on Saturday. He also played mop-up duty the night before against the Golden Knights. All told, Dell owns a 3.08 GAA and .897 Sv% this season after posting a very shaky 3.17 GAA and .886 Sv% in 25 appearances last season.
At the moment, there’s nothing to like about what this Sharks team is doing. Pre-season projections aside, San Jose has been perhaps the worst team in the league in the season’s infancy, and I don’t imagine things get much easier against a dangerous Blackhawks offense in their home opener.
As a result, I’ll take the home side here to come out of the game with their first win on North American ice this season at reasonable odds.