Blackhawks at Ducks Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 3/20/2013
I don't know about you, but I'll be switching over around halftime from the late First Four NCAA Tournament game between No. 13 seeds La Salle and Boise State on Wednesday night to this matchup between the Blackhawks and Ducks as easily the two best teams in the NHL this season face off. It's also Chicago's lone visit to Anaheim in the regular season.
As incredible as Chicago's start to the season was in getting at least one point in an NHL-record 24 consecutive games -- i.e. half the shortened schedule and breaking Anaheim's record -- the Hawks are only five points ahead of Anaheim for the top seed in the West. Just think about that for a second. Thus, this one could have tiebreaker implications because Anaheim won the first meeting of the season and the clubs play once more, next Friday in the Windy City.
At Sportsbook.ag, Chicago is +200 to win the Western Conference and +400 to win the Stanley Cup. The Ducks are +600 and +1200, respectively.
Blackhawks at Ducks Betting Story Lines
The Blackhawks (24-2-3, 51 points) haven't been an underdog since a Feb. 1 game at Vancouver that Chicago lost 2-1 in a shootout, but they are slight ones here. There is a big question mark surrounding Chicago star forward Marian Hossa. He suffered an upper-body injury in Monday's 5-2 win over Colorado and didn't return. Coach Joel Quenneville said "it's not bad," but certainly it wouldn't surprise anyone to see Hossa sit out because then he would get a full week of rest with Chicago off until next Monday. He is third on the team in goals (10) and points (23). It would be a significant loss because Chicago remains without second-line forward Patrick Sharp due to a shoulder injury.
Chicago has won three straight since that 24-game point streak ended in back-to-back losses to Colorado and Edmonton. Hart Trophy favorite Patrick Kane had three points in Monday's win over the Avs, his fourth straight game with at least one point and third in the past four with three. Goalie Ray Emery made 17 saves and is 11-0-0 this season. But it should be his turn to head back to the bench for No. 1 Corey Crawford (13-2-3, 1.79 GAA).
The Ducks (21-3-4, 46 points) beat San Jose 5-3 on Monday for their franchise-record 12th straight home victory since losing their home opener to the Canucks. It was the 12th time this season the Ducks scored at least four goals. Viktor Fasth made 32 saves as Anaheim got at least a point for the 11th straight game overall (19 of a possible 22). The Ducks have been busy in the past two weeks in locking up stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry (nine goals, 15 assists), with Perry's deal announced during Monday's game. He will not play in this game as he serves the fourth game of a four-game suspension for an illegal hit on Minnesota's Jason Zucker in a March 12 game. Getzlaf has a at least one point in 11 straight home games, totaling 20 in that stretch.
If the Ducks win here, they could definitely pass Chicago in the standings as eight of their next 12 games at home, including the next four straight. Anaheim beat Chicago 3-2 in a shootout on Feb. 12 in Chicago. Crawford did start that game for Chicago.
Blackhawks at Ducks NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Anaheim has been opened at -110 and Chicago at +100 with the total at 5.5 (“under” a -120 favorite). The Blackhawks are 11-17-1 “over/under” this season (7-9 on road) while Ducks are 12-14-2 O/U (5-7-1 at home).
Chicago is 5-0 in its past five vs. teams with a winning record. The Hawks have won their past four against Pacific Division foes. Anaheim has won six straight Wednesday games. The Ducks are 6-1 in their past seven playing on one day of rest. The over is 5-0 in Chicago's past five on one day of rest. The under is 4-1 in Anaheim's past five after a win. The under is 6-2 in the past eight in Anaheim. The home team has won 14 of the past 20 meetings.
Blackhawks at Ducks Picks and Betting Predictions
The Ducks have a ways to go to break the NHL record for consecutive home wins, which was set by the Detroit Red Wings at 23 straight in 2011-12. In the shootout's seven-season era, the previous mark for the longest home winning streak had been 14 by Boston during the 2008-09 season. Fasth is perfect 6-0-0 at home this season with a .950 save percentage and 1.32 GAA. I presume he gets the nod against over Jonas Hiller. Chicago has lost eight of its past 11 trips to the Honda Center but is 13-1-2 on the road this season.
This will be must-see TV for sure. I wonder if the Hawks might be a bit out of gas as this is the finale of a four-game trip (in six days) and off playing in the thin air on Monday. Not having Sharp and probably Hossa is tough, although the Ducks not having Perry equalizes things. I fully expect this game to go to a shootout, but I lean toward Anaheim and the under.
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