Free NHL Picks: Blackhawks at Red Wings Odds
by George Monroy - 1/21/2014
The Chicago Blackhawks started out 2014 on a bit of a slump, losing five of their first seven games of the year. It was the team’s worst slump of the season and allowed the Anaheim Ducks to take sole possession of first place in the Western Conference playoff standings. Chicago, however, put an end to its struggles with two impressive wins over the Ducks and Boston Bruins that proved the road to the Stanley Cup still runs through the Blackhawks.
The Detroit Red Wings started off a five-game homestand by splitting games with the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. The squad is four points behind the eighth spot in the East but will have to play its next few games without starting goaltender Jimmy Howard, who suffered a lower-body injury during Monday’s game against the Blues. Let’s take a closer look at Wednesday night’s matchup between the Blackhawks and Red Wings with predictions and analysis.
Blackhawks at Red Wings Betting Story Lines
On Friday the Blackhawks put a stop to Anaheim’s eight-game winning streak and reminded the rest of the league who the No. 1 team in hockey really is. Chicago then beat the Boston Bruins on Sunday to finish off its four-game homestand with three wins and seven points. However, the schedule is about to become much more difficult for Chicago as the team will hit the road for nine of its next 10 matchups and will face a tough stretch of seven straight road games.
Chicago’s goaltender, Corey Crawford, stopped 34 shots against the Bruins and allowed only two goals on a whopping 36 shots on goal during the matchup. Crawford was also named the Third Star of the Week by the NHL for his excellent performances against the Ducks and Bruins as well as posting a 2-0-1 record in three starts last week. Chicago’s offense continues to be one of the best in the league, ranking first in goals scored with 3.5 per game and fifth in power-play percentage.
Detroit is coming off a three-goal loss to the Blues on Monday night where the team also lost its starting goaltender Howard. The seven-year veteran is listed as day-to-day with an injury to the same knee that he hurt in December. Detroit currently has seven players injured or questionable for Wednesday’s game. The team’s offense has been virtually non-existent because of those injuries, and the squad has scored only 15 goals during its first eight matchups of 2014.
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit’s point’s leader, has struggled with only three points during his last five outings, while the team’s leading scorer, Pavel Datsyuk, is still suffering from a groin injury and has not played since Jan. 1. The Red Wings will play four of five home games to end the month before playing six of seven games on the road to begin February.
Blackhawks at Red Wings NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
Chicago opened as a -147 road moneyline favorite against the +134 underdog Red Wings at BetOnline. The total was set at 5.5 goals, with the “over” being favored at -110. Chicago is 2-6 over its last eight games played on two days of rest and 3-1 over its last four overall matchups. The team has gone “under” during its last four games following a win and in four of its last five matchups against the Eastern Conference.
Detroit is 5-2 during its last seven games after scoring two goals or fewer in its previous matchup. The team is 1-6 versus the Central Division, 0-5 against teams with a win percentage of .600 or better, and it has gone under in five of its last six overall matchups.
Head-to-head, the home team is 4-1 over the last five meetings while Chicago is 11-3 during the last 14 overall games between the two teams.
Free NHL Picks: Blackhawks at Red Wings Odds
Chicago should enter this matchup focused and ready to put together a winning streak after struggling early in the month. The team knows that the first few games of its extended road trip will be easier to manage than the back end of the trip when the squad might be tired and fatigued because of the travel. Detroit, on the other hand, is banged up from various injuries and will probably struggle to contain Chicago’s offense without its starting goaltender. Take the Blackhawks on the moneyline.
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