Winners of 6 of the last 10 Stanley Cups meet up in the December 12th NHL free pick in Chicago. For the Penguins, the hopes of another championship are still in sight – albeit with some work to do as they are 9th in the East. For Chicago however, their main object at the moment is just getting out of the basement as they are dead last in the NHL with just 23 points. The ‘Hawks have dropped 8 straight and are on a B2B – easy wager on the Penguins tonight?
Any Chance Penguins Overlook This One?
Tonight in theory should be an easy victory for Pittsburgh. The Penguins have won 3 of their last 4 and are up against a Chicago team playing on leg two of a B2B and their third game in four nights. Pittsburgh might be wary of some fatigue themselves after playing two straight OT games and their third on a row. That being said they’ve had a game of rest between each. One reason Pittsburgh might grind down and avoid complacency in the December 12th NHL free pick is because they’ve lost six straight in Chicago and eight overall to the Blackhawks.
While what version of a tired (and already bad) Chicago team we see tonight is a mystery, so is what Pittsburgh will trot out in goal. Matt Murray makes his first start since being knocked out of a game on November 17th with a lower body injury. Normally getting your starting goaltender back would be a good thing but Murray was just 4-5-1 before the injury and had allowed 16 goals in his last four starts. Rink rust mixed with a pre-existing lack of confidence isn’t a good prescription.
Chicago Is Just So Bad
Normally when a team goes on an 8 game losing streak, there was a bounce here or a deflection there that avoided a win by a nose. Not with these Blackhawks who have held a lead for a grand total of 41 seconds in 11 games since November 18th. Chicago is bad – and tired. In the last week the team has been in Anaheim, in Vegas, back home to play Montreal, at Winnipeg, then back home for tonight’s contest. Chicago is a slow starter anyway (down 3-0 to the Jets last night after being out-shot 15-5) but how much worse is that going to be when fatigued?
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews both logged 20+ minutes of ice time last night despite the result never really being in doubt. The Hawks offense wasn’t really scoring anyways with 2 goals or less scored in 4 of their last 6. Now the offensive unit is tired and at a disadvantage even more. That puts more pressure on G Corey Crawford tonight – which isn’t good. Crawford has dropped 8 straight, has allowed 4+ in five of those, and is p against Pittsburgh’s top 10 offense in the December 12th NHL free pick.
December 12th NHL Free Pick Betting
It’s hard to trust either goaltender in net tonight which is why a total play of ‘over’ 6 looks very nice. There isn’t much value on the Penguins ML at -175 because it’s a) high and b) look at the trends against Pittsburgh:
- Penguins are 0-6 the last 6 meetings in Chicago
- Penguins are 0-8 the last 8 H2H meetings overall
- Penguins are 0-6 their last 6 vs. a team with a losing record
If – and that’s a huge if – Chicago pulls this off by some modern day Miracle on Ice it’s going to be a high scoring game. If the Penguins win, they could put up 6 themselves. Therefore a total play it is.
NHL Free Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins / Chicago Blackhawks *Over 6