December 28, 2016

NHL Hockey Betting: Chicago Blackhawks at Carolina Hurricanes

NHL Hockey Betting:  Chicago Blackhawks at Carolina Hurricanes&h=253&w=372&zc=1

The Chicago Blackhawks will make the short trip from Nashville, Tennessee–where they beat the Predators last night–to Raleigh, North Carolina where they’ll face a tricky opponent in the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina is in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division with 37 points. That puts them 17 points behind the first place Columbus Blue Jackets but the ‘canes are definitely not a doormat. Carolina is 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and they’ve been excellent on their home ice at the RBC Center. At home, Carolina is 10-3-1–that means they’ve got the same number of regulation home losses as Montreal or Columbus.

Chicago and Minnesota are in a pitched battle atop the Central Division and for that matter are on the verge of running away with the entire Western Conference. The Blackhawks have 51 points and are in first place, Minnesota has 50 points for second place. After that it’s a long way back to third place St. Louis (43 points) and fourth place Dallas (39 points). Chicago is six points up on Pacific Division leading San Jose (45 points) and second place Edmonton (44 points). They’re coming off a nice division win last night in Nashville where the Predators did what they always do–play well for 50 minutes before dropping a one goal game to a superior opponent.

Scott Darling will get the start in net tonight for Chicago and he’s been very strong this year filling in for Corey Crawford when needed. Darling has a 10-3-2 record with a 2.35 goals against average and a 0.923 save percentage with 1 shutout. Carolina will start Cam Ward in net–Ward is all of a sudden ‘the man’ again on the Hurricanes’ goaltending depth chart with Eddie Lack having been injured for much of the season. Ward is 12-9-6 with a 2.27 goals against average and a 0.917 save percentage with 2 shutouts.

Chicago is a solid road team (10-6-2) but this is a very tough spot for the Blackhawks coming off the come-from-behind win in Nashville last night and with the New Years’ Day outdoor contest at St. Louis on deck. This isn’t lost on the linesmakers which is why the Hurricanes are favored here. In a different situation we might be looking to take the value with the road team but it will be hard for Chicago to avoid a ‘flat spot’ in this situation.