- Chicago Blackhawks (+110) at Washington Capitals (-130)
There have been some very interesting struggles this season. Right off the top, we have the Edmonton Oilers. They were the odds-on favorite in Vegas to win it all.
Now, they sit at +4100 to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup and 23 other teams have better odds than the Oilers. It’s understandable considering they are a woeful 11-14-2. Their opponent Wednesday is the Philadelphia Flyers.
They didn’t come into the season as huge favorites but playoff contenders for sure. They just snapped a 10-game losing streak. The Senators were a game away from the Stanley Cup Final last season. This year, they are mired in a 2-7-1 run and a game below .500.
The same goes for the Chicago Blackhawks. They were swept out of the playoffs last year but are a perennial contender. To this point, they have been underwhelming and are in our featured matchup.
We have 4 games to breakdown. It’s a light-night but a fun one! Let’s take a look.
Chicago v. Washington as the Stanley Cup Final was certainly a possibility heading into the year. The Capitals are the defending President’s Trophy winners. The Blackhawks are, well the Blackhawks. However, 2017-18 has been more doom than boom for these two. Washington just recently has played their way into a playoff spot.
While Chicago is still on the outside looking in. Both teams have prolific playmakers who have proven talent but can they get things going? Another a huge 2 points are on the line in the US capital.
The Hawks have struggled to put the puck in the net. Their 11th ranked offense scores at a clip of 3 goals a night. You would think with the likes of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they would be able to score a little bit easier.
Kane has been solid averaging a point a game. He has 10 goals and 17 assists and is well worth his contract. The same can’t be said for Toews. He has just 18 points but garners a salary of over 10 million a year. He needs to be better.
The leader on the backend is Duncan Keith. He has struggled this season with a -7 rating. Nonetheless, Chicago has a 6th ranked defense and is the only reason they are even close to .500.
Last season Washington had a top-3 offense and defense. It’s no wonder they won the President’s Trophy. This year? Not so much. Their offense is ranked 16th in the league scoring under 3 goals a game.
You can’t blame Alex Ovechkin for that, he leads the league with 20 goals. However, that’s twice as many as the next goal scorer in Washington. TJ Oshie is next with just 10-goals and he just left a game with a possible concussion. They need the secondary scoring.
The defense is ranked 17th in the NHL. It lacks a true stud on the blueline. The Caps have relied heavily on John Carlsson giving him over 26 minutes of ice-time a night. However, he is a -8.
If both team’s number one goalie was in net, Washington would have the advantage. Corey Crawford has been good for Chicago, but Brayden Holtby is a Vezina winner. Crawford though is out with an injury. As a result, Anton Forsberg will likely get the nod. He owns a 1-3-3 record and a poor 3.02 GAA. Holtby hasn’t been in top form. Still, he’s 14-6-0 and has a decent 2.63 GAA.
All signs point to a Washington win. They are the in-form team, have a better goalie and are 10-5-0 at home. However, the Blackhawks have dropped 4-straight. That usually doesn’t mean good things but this group doesn’t string losses together very often. Let’s take the added value on the money line for Chicago.