There’s a lot of public action coming in on the Blackhawks in the February 22nd NHL free pick. With good reason too as Chicago has gone 8-2 over the last 10 and have won 10 of their last 12. Even though nearly 3/4 of the consensus is on the ‘Hawks, the line has dropped from CHI -129 to CHI -105 Friday vs. the Avalanche. Colorado dropped their first six back from the break, but have since gone 3-1.
Avs Turn To Their Red Hot Goaltender to Slow the Chicago Offense
The Blackhawks have turned their season around thanks to a much improved offense. Fortunately for Colorado one of their strong points lately has been their defense, specifically goaltender Semyon Varlamov. The Avs netminder is 3-1 his last four, but he’s allowed only four goals over that span. The last three of those games were at home however. Varlamov has been solid on the road too though, giving up just 11 goals in his last four away starts.
The Colorado offense has slowed a bit and that’s the main reason they have an 8-23 record over their last 31 games. Even so, the trio of Nathan Mackinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog are still dangerous especially against a Chicago defense that has given up 16 goals the last three games. The Avs are also coming off a 7-1 win over Winnipeg in which the ‘big three’ all scored a goal. The February 22nd NHL free pick O/U is a whopping 7 for a reason.
Chicago Can Climb Into a Playoff Spot With a Win (But So Can Colorado)
The Blackhawks and Avalanche are both tied in the Western Conference with 61 points, which is one behind Minnesota for the 2nd wild card spot. The Wild are on a back-to-back Friday in Detroit and will fall out of their position (with a loss) to the winner of the February 22nd NHL free pick. Chicago has gone 2-0 vs. Colorado this season with Collin Delia in net both victories – as he’ll be Friday. Delia’s 6-3-3 record is more of a testament to his offense than his goaltending as the youngster is 3-1 over his last 4 decisions despite allowing 17 goals.
As for that Chicago offense, it is good enough to get the win even if their goaltender struggles. The Blackhawks outlasted Ottawa 8-7 for example on Monday. Patrick Kane has a point in 19 straight games and is making a bid for MVP behind Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov. Alex Debrincat has been hot too with 10 goals over the last 13 games. In total Chicago has 20 goals in their last 4 games, but Colorado has allowed just 5 total in their last four.
February 22nd NHL Free Pick Betting
Chicago is on a roll but once again that line and the subsequent movement raises a red flag. The Blackhawks lost a 2-5 game to Columbus last Saturday in a game that is seeming eerily similar. The Colorado defense has been great recently and the Avs offense showed some signs of life their last time out.
NHL Free Pick: Colorado Avalanche -115