Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:45 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. The Jets' future is set with a first-round matchup with the Minnesota Wild. Winnipeg has been a freight train down the stretch by winning 10 of its last 11 games. Even when the Jets rested some players the other night in Montreal, the reserves still stepped up and took home the W. The only defeat Winnipeg has suffered since the middle of March was a 6-2 thumping at the hands of these Blackhawks in the Windy City just over a week ago. It was on that night that accountant Scott Foster got his 14-minutes of fame after stopping seven Jets shots in that blowout.
The Blackhawks' fall from grace has been ugly. Like a once proud prizefighter, the core of this Chicago team has gotten old fast. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith have played more hockey than just about anybody on the planet over the last decade with multiple Stanley Cup runs and Olympic gold medals. The tread is now worn off those tires, as the Blackhawks limp into the final night of their season. Chicago is coming off back-to-back games with the Blues, who are still fighting for a playoff spot. Those games were no doubt the biggest the 'Hawks played in the second half of the year. It was their Stanley Cup Final. Chicago rallied from down two goals in St. Louis two games ago and managed to keep the Blues from clinching a postseason spot on its dime. A 4-1 loss in the return match in Chicago was much less competitive, as the 'Hawks were outshot 35-20. The Blackhawks will now have to travel to Winnipeg to play their third game in four days and tail end of back-to-backs after two games against the Blue Notes to play about their most meaningless game over the last 10 years. The Blackhawks will also make this trip with perhaps the worst defense and goaltending combination in the NHL. Winnipeg can show up at half speed here and still win by four goals because Chicago showing up and playing hard in this one is almost 100% out of the question.
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WINNIPEG -1½ +109 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.18)