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Posted at 11:30 PM EST.
OT included. 8:35 PM EST. After losing to the Stars last night in Dallas, goaltender Jake Allen of the Blues said, “They (the Stars) get two flukey goals while we were throwing everything at them. It’s just not right to lose that game when our guys played so hard and so much better than they did”.
While that has nothing to do with this game, it helps to point out the extreme luck which we refer to often in hockey and that really applies to both of these teams at both ends of the spectrum. The Capitals are the luckiest team in the NHL while the Blackhawks are the unluckiest. Of course that could continue here but enough is enough already, as Chicago is too good to keep losing games at this pace while the Caps are not good enough to keep getting lucky.
Analytically, the Caps are a bottom seven team over the past 15 games in just about every metric. No team with this many victories appear so low in so many possession and defensive metrics as the Caps. In Minnesota on Thursday, Washington scored five times on 27 shots on net in a 5-2 victory. In its 4-3 OT loss in Winnipeg, Washington had six scoring chances, scored three times while allowing 16 scoring chances and getting obliterated on the puck possession numbers. In back-to-back recent wins over the Jackets, Washington outscored Columbus 7-4, while getting outshot, 77-41. It’s seven games and counting that Washington is playing without the puck more often than its opponent. It’s 70% of their games this season that they have been outplayed, outworked, outshot and out-Corsied, yet all they do is win a lot more than they lose. The Caps have this market completely fooled and if they keep winning, good for them but we promise some winning tickets are forthcoming when fading them because all of their under the hood numbers put the Caps in the same range as Vancouver, Arizona and Buffalo among others.
Chicago is the polar opposite of Washington. Even weak teams with poor goaltending win games but the Blackhawks are a great team with below average goaltending that are on one of the unluckiest streaks in recent memory. The Blackhawks have dropped eight straight, which is bordering on lunacy because they have outplayed at least six of those teams and many by a wide margin. The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead on Anaheim last game out, outshot the Ducks 44-32 and allowed three unanswered goals to lose another one. The game before that, the Blackhawks had a 2-1 lead after a near flawless first two periods on the road in Vegas and four minutes into the third, it was 4-2 for the Knights. 40 minutes of hard work circled the drain. Exactly one week ago, Chicago went into Minnesota and outshot the Wild, 44-19 and lost 3-0. Two days later they went into Arizona, outshot the Coyotes, 38-22 and lost 6-1. Chicago’s possession numbers over the past five weeks match Pittsburgh’s and Las Vegas. Frustration or weak goaltending may get them again here but this is a veteran team that has overcome adversity before and that are playing too good to lose to such inferior teams, especially at the Madhouse on a Saturday night. Enough is enough.
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CHICAGO +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)