NHL Hockey: Chicago Blackhawks at Carolina Hurricanes
A pair of teams looking to end a three game losing streak will do battle on Saturday afternoon as the Chicago Blackhawks head south to take on the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s been a rough season so far for Chicago–the started the year with three straight losses, beat Edmonton and Columbus at home and since then have lost three more games to check in at 2-4-2 for 6 points which puts the Hawks in a four way tie for the second worst record in the NHL.
Things aren’t quite as bleak in Raleigh though the Carolina Hurricanes are anxious to get back on the winning track. The ‘canes won five straight and 6 of their first 7 to start the season but have since dropped three straight and 3 of their last 4. Their most recent three losses all came during a 4 game road swing–they lost to San Jose, Anaheim and Columbus after beating the LA Kings to open the trip.
The big concern for Chicago heading into the season was defense and goaltending. While the Blackhawks haven’t been great in these areas they rank #17 in goals allowed per game–mediocre at best but not as big of a problem as their offense. Chicago is #25 in goals scored per game at 2.50 and there aren’t any short term fixes in sight. Carolina could stand to improve statistically though they’ve got better numbers–and more balance–than the Blackhawks ranking #10 in scoring offense and #13 in scoring defense. Both teams could improve on the power play where Carolina is #20 in the league (17.6%) and Chicago #26 (11.5%). The penalty kill is a similar story with the ‘canes at #16 (79.5%) and the Hawks at #24 (11.5%).
Big picture–things still look good for Carolina and they’re just 4 points off the pace in the Metropolitan Division and 6 behind East leading Buffalo. Even with the three game losing streak they’re a decent 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. Chicago is a different matter and they’re being left in the dust by their divisional rivals in the powerful Central. After 10 games they’re already 7 points out of the final wild card spot in the West. Carolina will play the next four games at home as well as 6 of the next 8. They won both games against Chicago last year and there’s no reason they can’t do the same thing this season.
BET CAROLINA HURRICANES -178 OVER CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
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