NHL Lines: Chicago vs Pittsburgh Pick
Wednesday is the final night of NHL hockey before the All Star break and features a high profile match up between the Chicago Blackhawks (29-15-2) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (26-12-7). Cappers Picks will provide free NHL picks all season so check back often.
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Chicago vs Pittsburgh
When: Wednesday Jan. 21 at 8:00 pm EST
Where: CONSOL Energy Center
NHL Gambling Line: Pittsburgh +100/ Chicago -110
NHL Gambling Over Under Line: 5.5
This is the first meeting of the season between two of arguably the most talented teams in the entire league. These teams split their season series last year with the home team taking care of business in each game.
The Pens are at home tonight but have been reeling of late so this should be a fun match up and a toss up.
This perennial powerhouse is among the leaders in the Western Conference once again this year but have been anything but dominant of late, and have been struggling to find their consistency of late.
The Blackhawks have gone 5-5 over their last 10 and haven’t been able to make any ground on teams like Nashville and St. Louis and as a result find themselves in third place in the Central Division. The Blackhawks may be about to turn a corner however as they put a beating on the Coyotes last night by a score of 6-1 and their star players are starting to really come around.
Patrick Kane has been on fire of late with nine points in his last six games and his partner in crime Jonathan Toews has put up eight points over the same span. When those two players are rolling this team is very tough to beat.
Goaltending has been up and down for this team though and Corey Crawford looks like he will get the start tonight as backup Antii Raanta was in goal last night. Crawford has posted two wins in three games against the Penguins while posting a 1.95 GAA and .929 SV%.
There are a dozen comparisons you can draw between the Penguins and Blackhawks, from the talent they boast up front, to the up and down play of their goaltenders, to the recent inconsistencies. Pittsburgh is just 4-4-2 over their last 10 and have seen their lead in the Metropolitan Division vanish and turn into a four point deficit.
The Pens are mired in a three game losing streak right now and would certainly love to snap that before going into the break. Where the Penguins have been a bit different from Chicago is that they’ve had some weird nights off from their stars. Sidney Crosby has been putting up numbers as usual but they’ve come in large outbursts and then he goes absent for a few nights. Crosby has 14 points in his last 10 games, but 10 of those came in just three games, in other words over the other seven Sid managed just four points.
Center Evgeni Malkin has put up similar types of stats, with 10 points in his last 10 games, however many of those came in games where he put up two points, in four games over that stretch Malkin was held pointless and was a combined -3. When you lump those numbers in with Crosby’s off nights you get four points over seven games between the two, which is just not enough for this team to have success.
Blackhawks vs. Penguins 4* Free Pick
Neither of these two has been playing very consistent. I love the home underdog in this one and the Penguins are the slight dog at +100, mainly due to their three game losing streak. Top level competition always brings the best out of other top quality teams.
The Penguins will be up for this one, knowing full well that if they have a poor showing they could get run right out of their own building, especially against a team coming off a six goal outburst the night before.
I like the Penguins to come out like gangbusters tonight and set the tone early and come away with a win.
Go with Pittsburgh.