There is a long and sordid past between these two Western Conference foes and tonight in Vancouver, the Blackhawks and Canucks will reignite that rivalry with part II of the Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader
Stock the fridge and order you favorite Chicago-style deep dish pizza. It doesn’t matter what John Stewart says, this stuff is good! Hawks, ‘Nucks, Over/Under picks with some Habs and Pens poutine gravy on the side! The Chirper has got two NHL picks for the night starting on the left coast.
BLACKHAWKS at CANUCKS
NHL Odds Online: Chicago -125 and 5.5 OV -120
So far this year it’s been really tough watching the Canucks games in their entirety and I can sort of relate it to the feeling of opening my Christmas stocking over the last couple years. Feeling good with a rum and eggnog in one hand, I reach into it with the other… all the while trying to hold off high expectations. I poke around for a bit and like what I feel, only to come up with a stale bagel, a bunch of crap and the occasional pack of batteries.
Failed expectations and a lack of consistency. Just like a Canucks team that can upset the Sharks, put up four-straight singles (0-3-1), lay a massive egg against the Florida Panhandlers and then put on a solid performance in Friday’s 6-2 win over the Crap Jackets. Scoring came from all around last night with five different players lighting the lamp including Alex Edler for the first time in over a month (Oct. 19). It can be hard to watch to a team still trying to find an identity and to be fair; it’s not just in Vancouver. It’s the reality of the NHL these days but come mid-December the level of hockey should start to improve as the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders and start to produce some fantastic play.
Chi-town has a talented squad with some real depth and a solid captain in Jonathan Toews. They have been in some high scoring shootouts of late and the Hawks lead the league in number of games (8) with more than seven total goals scored. Since Oct. 28 the Hawks (4.2) have outscored opponents (3.1) 50-37 going 9-2-1 with 10 overs and 2 unders but despite those flashy numbers I’m still looking for this team to pucker up defensively against the Canucks.
[quote_text color=”#000000″ text_color=”#ffffff”]Playing 5 on 5 in close games the Hawks allow an average of 2.1 goals per 60 minutes this season[/quote_text]
Hard to say what to expect from these highly paid Vancouver athletes. Depending on how chippy the game becomes and how many subsequent penalties are awarded, the game should be relatively tame. Chicago has seven power play goals in 10 road games this season and while their penalty kill is 29th, the Canucks PP ranks 29th at home with just four goals in 43 chances. The Hawks have also traveled up the mountain to face the Avs, back to the Prairies for a token beatdown of the Jets and now out to the coast. With SportsDatabase.com we see that road faves off 2-straight road games since 2008 are 54-84 O/U when the total is 5.5 and if this game ends up playing out 5-on-5 you can eat your Chicago deep dish watching a defensive battle in piece. If it turns into a penalty box parade you won’t even need your seat but keep calm and chirp on!
Chirper’s Pick: Hawks and ‘Nucks UNDER 5.5 even (***out of *****)
Squeaker Pick: Penguins at Habs OVER 5 (-130)