Ducks at Blackhawks Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Dave Schwab - 3/29/2013
The Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks will square off against one another this Friday night at the United Center in what should be a preview of this season’s Western Conference Finals. The game is slated to get underway at 8:30 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on the NHL Network.
The Ducks current skid reached four games with a 4-0 loss to San Jose this past Wednesday as an even-money road underdog. They are now five points behind Chicago for the top spot in the West with 48 points. Despite the loss, Anaheim is still 9-3-4 on the road this season.
Chicago has had some problems of its own with a 4-4 record in its last eight games. After dropping back-to-back contests to the Ducks on the road and Los Angeles at home, the Blackhawks snapped back with a 2-0 shutout of Calgary this past Tuesday as -173 home favorites.
Ducks at Blackhawks Betting Storylines
It has been a rare downturn for Anaheim these past four games after cruising through most of its schedule since opening day. During this slide its normally-potent offense that has averaged three goals a game this season has sputtered with just five goals in four games. Ryan Getzlaf leads the team with 12 goals, but one of the Ducks’ biggest strengths has been their scoring balance through all their lines with nine players scoring at least six goals so far.
As bad as Anaheim has been at finding the back of the net lately, it is giving them up at an alarming rate as well. A normally stingy defense that has held teams to just 2.5 goals a game has been tagged with 16 in the past four games. Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller have been alternating starts since mid-March, so look for Fasth to most likely get the start against Chicago.
During the Blackhawks’ up-and-down ride the past eight games, finding the back of the net has not been an issue. They are averaging 3.3 goals a game this season, which is the second-highest total in the NHL and over the last eight games this number has actually increased to 3.8. Patrick Kane continues to lead the way with 17 goals and 24 assists while Jonathan Toews has tallied another 16 goals and 16 assists.
The main concern has to be on the other end of the ice with a complete lack of consistency from one game to the next. Over the past eight outings, Chicago has been torched for four or more goals in four of the games while giving up a total of four goals in the other four outings. Corey Crawford remains the primary starter in goal, and while his season goals-against-average is a stellar 2.02, he has posted a whopping 3.83 GAA in his last six starts.
Ducks at Blackhawks NHL Betting Odds and Trends
Anaheim comes into this showdown as a +138 road underdog on BetOnline’s opening money line with the Blackhawks listed as -152 home favorites. The “over/under” for this contest has been set at 5.5.
The Ducks are 10-3 in their last 13 games against teams from the Central Division but 2-5 in their last seven games on the road. The total has stayed under in their last four road games.
The Blackhawks are 5-0 in their last five games playing on two days’ rest and 9-3 in their last 12 games against the Pacific Division. The total has gone over in four of their last five games.
Head-to-head in this series, the home team is 15-6 in the last 21 meetings and the total has stayed under in eight of the last 10 meetings. The total has also stayed under in the last six meetings in Chicago. Anaheim has won both meetings this season, including a 3-2 shootout in its last trip to the United Center as a +145 underdog.
Ducks at Blackhawks Picks and Betting Predictions
Given the current form of both of these teams, it is hard to know what to expect on Friday night. The edge has to go to Chicago given the way it is still scoring goals. Even if the Ducks can suddenly find some offense, they will not be able to keep pace with the Blackhawks’ sharpshooters this time around.
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