Two Central Division teams heading in opposite directions to wind down the 2018 calendar year meet up in the December 27th NHL free pick. Minnesota is in the midst of it’s longest winless streak of the year, going 0-3-1 their last four. Chicago meanwhile is on the right track after going 3-1 over their last four. Oddsmakers still don’t trust the young Blackhawks goaltender and have made the home team +130 on Thursday. Is that where the value is?
Minnesota Needs to Find Some Offense Fast
It’s no secret what has caused the Wild to struggle recently. Their offense has gone on a holiday break, scoring just 3 goals total over the last 4 games. Minnesota has dropped 3 games at the Xcel Energy Center over that span – a place that had held one of the best home ice advantages in the league. The Wild are just 7-9 on the road this season yet are listed as -150 favorites in the December 27th NHL free pick.
One of the main reasons Minnesota is favored tonight is the perceived edge in net with Devan Dubnyk manning the pipes. The Wild losing streak hasn’t been solely on the hands of their goaltender as Dubnyk has held 3 of 4 opponents to 2 goals or less. Chicago did net 3 goals on 30 shots (.900) back in October but Minnesota was still able to get a 4-3 OT win. Do they have the offense to win another high scoring affair on Thursday?
Chicago Has Fared Well Lately But Hopes a Layoff Didn’t Hurt
The Blackhawks almost might have preferred to keep their steam rolling instead of having 3 nights off for the Christmas break. Chicago has gone 4-2-1 over their last 7 and doesn’t appear to be the dumpster fire that they were for most of the season. The ‘Hawks have taken 3 of the possible 4 points in the two games vs. the Wild this year. They went to OT in St. Paul on 10/11 and then tallied a 3-1 win back at the United Center on November 18th.
At one point the Blackhawks went 1-9-1 over an 11 game span which makes their 3-1 record since so uplifting to fans. Chicago has given up 2 goals or less in 3 of 4 which seems like an ideal matchup vs. the struggling Minnesota offense. The Blackhawks dropped a 3-6 contest to Florida on Sunday, but Cam Ward was in net for that game giving up 5 goals on 25 shots (.808). Rookie Collin Delia is supposed to be between the pipes on Thursday. The December 27th NHL free pick marks just his 4th start of the year but Delia stopped 35 of 36 Avalanche shots last time out.
December 27th NHL Free Pick Betting
Patrick Kane seems to be finding his groove with a five game point streak. Alex Debrincat has also scored a goal in three straight. That bodes well for Chicago as both teams are fresh in a game where the total is set at 6. The Wild are 4-1 their last 5 on 3+ days rest and Chicago is just 2-6 in their last 8 home games. That being said, the home team has won 4 of 5 and Minnesota is 7-15 their last 22 in Chicago. The ‘Hawks find the offense to give them the edge in this one.
NHL Free Pick: Chicago Blackhawks +130