Looking into the January 14th NHL free pick from the Prudential Center in Newark, you have to wonder how the Devils are 13th out of 16 teams in the East. After all, New Jersey has one of the best home records in the league at 12-5-4. Is this a tale of two teams when it comes to home/road as the Devils are just 5-15-3 away? Chicago comes to town after a lot of close calls lately and New Jersey is -155 Monday. Is that too much – or not enough – for the Devils at home?
Blackhawks Haven’t Been Able to Get Over Hump
On paper, Chicago’s 4 wins in their last 10 games doesn’t look great. That being said the ‘Hawks have still been playing some solid hockey. In the last 11 days Chicago has dropped OT contests to the Islanders, Predators, and Golden Knights and suffered a one goal defeat to Calgary. That’s 3 of the top 5 teams in the West and an Eastern Conference team headed to the playoffs that Chicago has hung tough with. They’ve also scored a win in Pittsburgh over that time. Therefore is there value on the Blackhawks in the January 14th NHL free pick? After all, New Jersey is far from elite.
Chicago’s offense could have a good night as their experience is up against a young net minder for the Devils. Patrick Kane continues his amazing season with 9 points in the last 4 games. Super sophomore Alex Debrincat has 5 goals the past four games as well and Jonathan Toews has also had a nice resurgence year with at least a point in 8 of 9. There’s not much beyond that trio however. This is why Collin Delia must continue to excel in net for Chicago to have a chance Monday. Delia is a young net minder as well, but New Jersey’s offense has struggled lately. Delia is 3-1-3 this year.
Difference in conferences this year, the Devils and Blackhawks each have 41 points. New Jersey is 12 points out of a playoff spot Chicago is 6 #NJDevils
— nick cahill (@cahill29) January 14, 2019
Nets Look to Get Slumping Offense on Track at Home
New Jersey has been a shell of their former offensive selves ever since last year’s MVP Taylor Hall went down December 23rd with a lower body injury. The Devils have been held to 2 goals or less in 3 of the last 4 and are just 2-2 their last four games at the Prudential Center. Even so New Jersey is still talented and feature the 2017 #1 pick Nico Hischier who is coming alive with 3 goals the last 5 games. Even so, New Jersey is 5-0-2 the last 7 home games in which they’ve been favored.
The Devils also have the advantage of sweeping Chicago 2-0 last season. The Blackhawks are 4-10 the last 14 meetings in New Jersey as well. Also that young goaltender for the Devils is Mackenzie Blackwood and his .947 save percentage is even better than Delia’s .932. Blackwood is 4-2 and in the rookie’s 9 appearances this year he’s allowed more than 2 goals just once. Two young goaltenders vs. two offenses that feature former #1 draft picks – the O/U of 6 is hard to call.
January 14th NHL Free Pick Betting
It’s hard to justify the value in the Devils -155 considering New Jersey has lost 3 of 4. There is some value in home ice, but both teams have had a days rest. The talented young goaltenders essentially cancel each other out in this one making Chicago’s offense with better scoring potential the difference maker. The underdog line on the Blackhawks increases the value on the road team.
NHL Free Pick: Chicago Blackhawks +130