No one would argue the fact that it’s been a down year for the Blackhawks. That being said one thing they have continued is their dominance over the Pittsburgh Penguins. After their 6-3 win on December 12th, Chicago is now 10-1 in their last 11 meetings vs. the Penguins. Oddsmakers don’t seem to mind however, making Pittsburgh a hefty -250 favorite in the January 6th NHL free pick. Are the ‘Hawks worth a play at +210 or is it wasted money?
Can Kane Lead the ‘Hawks to the Huge Upset
At the very least Chicago has a chance in every game lately the way Patrick Kane has been playing. #88 scored another goal vs. the Islanders on Thursday, his 6th in the last 4 games. The Penguins are riding an 8-game win streak into the January 6th NHL free pick so the ‘Hawks are going to need some offense. Jonathan Toews had 3 points in Chicago’s win over Pittsburgh in early December and brings a 5-game point streak into Sunday night’s game.
The Blackhawks are probably going to need to score 3-4 goals to steal an upset win with the way Cam Ward has been playing in net. The veteran goaltender has gone 2-5 in his last 7 starts and has allowed 4+ in four of those outings. Chicago has given up power play goals in 5 of the last 16 chances, making their penalty kill just 73% (last in the NHL.) Pittsburgh’s offense meanwhile…5th in the league on the power play.
Tonight’s discussion post for Penguins-Blackhawks with a game-by-game look at the Penguins’ nine-game losing streak against the Blackhawks.
It’s very depressing.https://t.co/E2mDshyGV3
— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) January 6, 2019
Penguins Surging Nicely Right Now
After an up and down start to the season, Pittsburgh seems to have found a groove as they’ve won 8 straight. The Penguins have climbed all the way into the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference and have been riding a very hot offense lately. Nine different Pittsburgh players have scored in the last two games alone. The Penguins are averaging 5 goals per game over their last five contests. Over that span Mike Sullivan’s team is 9 for 13 in the power play – a huge Chicago weakness.
Despite a hat trick from Bryan Rust the Penguins did lose that 6-3 contest in Chicago in early December. The Blackhawks were even playing on the 2nd leg of a back-to-back but they still slipped 4 of 27 shots past G Casey DeSmith. That’s who gets the nod in net for the Penguins on Sunday. DeSmith has won 4 of his last 6 starts even though he’s given up 3+ goals in 3 of his last 5. Both teams are well rested which should put this game a high scoring affair (the O/U is 6).
January 6th NHL Free Pick Betting
So what is the reason for Chicago’s success over the Penguins? The Blackhawks have won 4 straight in Pittsburgh which gives them hope despite losing 3 of their last 5 overall. The Penguins have been clicking on offense, but have little value at -250. 3/4 of the public is on Pittsburgh yet the line hasn’t adjusted at all. With Chicago offering such a nice ROI, it’s time to see if they can stay hot vs. the Penguins.
NHL Free PIck: Chicago Blackhawks +210