NHL Hockey: Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks

The slumping Chicago Blackhawks will try to get some momentum going in a tough setting as they hit the road to take on the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. The Blackhawks have won only 3 of their lat 10 games (3-5-2) and are at 3-6-2 for 8 points on the year. They’ve got any number of problems but not the least of which is their inability to score goals. Given the success of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews over the past decade that’s almost unfathomable but entering Sunday’s action Kane, Toews along with Alexc DeBrincat and Andrew Shaw have fewer goals (9) than the resurgent James Neal has all by himself (11).

The good news for Chicago is that their defense and goaltending has improved and they now come in at a #13-T in goals against per game allowing just 3.00 per contest. Of course the bad news is that’s of little value since the Blackhawks rank #30 in goals scored per game at 2.27 giving them a -0.73 deficit. Special teams have also been awful–the Blackhawks rank #22 on the penalty kill (77.1%) and #29 on the power play connecting on just 9.1% of their man advantage opportunities.

Making matters worse for the Blackhawks–they’ve had a favorable schedule thus far playing 8 of their first 11 games at home. They opened the season against the Philadelphia Flyers in Prague, Czech Republic but then played seven straight home games going 2-4-3. They were admittedly in against some tough competition but that’s just the way it is in the Western Conference. They’re 0-3-0 on the road this year and play at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night before making the short trip to Anaheim for this game on Sunday night.

The Ducks have been a streaky team so far this season but they’ve won 3 of 4 heading into this game. They’ve been doing it with defense and currently rank #5 in fewest goals against per game allowing just 2.40 per contest. That’s fortunate, since they haven’t been doing much on offense. The Ducks are tied with Calgary for #21 in team offense allowing just 2.73 goals per game. Neither team is scoring but Chicago is on a brutal run over the past three years when playing an opponent with a winning record in the first half of the season going 11-32 -22.3 units! We’ll go with the home team and look for this one to go ‘Under’ the total–Ducks have gone Under in 21 of their last 30 games in November (8-21-1).


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