The Western Conference is becoming a log jam with just 6 points separating seeds #8 through #15. Chicago is right there in the thick of things for a postseason race following their recent 5 game win streak. The Blackhawks continue their improbable run to the playoffs when they host the Canucks in the February 7th NHL free pick. Vancouver, the 8th seed, has dropped 2 in a row and find themselves road underdogs on Thursday.
Canucks Look to Finish Road Swing Strong
It’s hard to get re-acclimated after the Winter break regardless but Vancouver has had to do so with four straight road contests out of the chute. They started off strong with a 5-1 win in Colorado but have since fell 1-2 to Philadelphia and 2-3 to Washington. There are definitely some questions regarding the Canucks offense as they head into the February 7th NHL free pick. Despite scoring just 2 total goals the last two games, Brock Boeser didn’t get a single shot off vs. Washington after netting one in each of the two games prior. Prior to his goal Tuesday vs. the Caps, Elias Petterson had just 2 shots in the three games prior.
Chicago has been thriving with their offense recently so some scoring opportunities should be there for Vancouver on Thursday. That begs the question however, how prepared is Vancouver G Jacob Markstrom for the ‘Hawks onslaught? Markstrom has gone 1-2 since the Winter break, but he hasn’t played that bad allowing just 6 total goals. How many goals will be ‘just enough’ to allow in this contest?
Chicago Rides Momentum into Thursday’s Home Game
The Blackhawks have seemingly put it together, specifically on offense. During their current 5-game win streak Chicago has netted 28 goals. Patrick Kane has climbed into 2nd in the league in points with 78 and has 13 points over the ‘Hawks last 5 games. Chicago pelted the net in a 6-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday as six different players scored for the ‘Hawks. Alex Debrincat has been an incredible force for Chicago too with 9 points in the last 5 games.
Late word has come down that Collin Delia gets the start in net in the February 7th NHL free pick for Chicago. Starter Cam Ward had been playing well with wins (and a .926 + SV%) in three straight games but the ‘Hawks turn to the youngster in front of the home crowd Thursday. In Delia’s first start since the all-star break, Delia allowed 3 goals on 31 SOG in an OT win in Minnesota. Delia should have the advantage against a tired Vancouver team however.
February 7th NHL Free Pick Betting
Hockey is fun again for the time being in the Windy City and the United Center should provided a great home ice advantage for the ‘Hawks on Thursday. Vancouver is playing their 3rd game in four nights – all on the road. The Canucks will be looking forward to their 1st home game in over two weeks Saturday vs. Calgary and Chicago’s momentum will be too much to overcome.
NHL Free Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -132