NHL Hockey Free Predictions: Chicago Blackhawks vs New Jersey Devils
New Jersey: 44-26-7
Tonight, 7:05p.m. ET
Sportsbook odds: Blackhawks -115, Devils -105
The Chicago Blackhawks have been struggling mightily and the New Jersey Devils have not been that much better. Both of these teams have emerged as Cup contenders but will need to step up their games in order to realize their dreams. Chicago and New Jersey have done so far this season, but all of that success could be for not if they can’t step up and sustain a long playoff run.
The Chicago Blackhawks appear to be in the dreaded slump that they have avoided all season.
Before Wednesday’s 4-0 win, the Hawks had lost three straight games to teams that are out of the playoff picture. They are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. Still, they are a lock to win the Central Division title and clinch home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Chicago’s underwhelming play since the Olympic break (5-7-2) is due to the best players on the team not playing like the best players.
Jonathan Toews and Marion Hossa have come on a little bit in the last two games, scoring 3 points and two points respectively. Prior to that their points production dried up. Patrick Kane has been invisible and Patrick Sharp has not been nearly as effective as we are used to.
Defensively, the Hawks have demonstrated that they miss Brian Campbell and Kim Jonsson.
The defensive play has led to a conundrum in the Chicago nets. Cristobal Huet appears to have been supplanted by Antti Niemi as Chicago’s number one goaltender. Niemi recorded a shutout in his last game but other than that has been struggling himself.
The New Jersey Devils are in a dogfight with the Pittsburgh Penguins for not only the Atlantic Division crown but also a top three seed in the Eastern Conference. They are one point back of the Pens and will be looking to improve upon their 4-3-3 record over their last 10 games.
The Devils have only scored a total of one goal in their last two games – not exactly awe-inspiring offense for a team that is thought to have a good shot at winning it all this season. Other than Ilya Kovalchuk, who has eight points in his last five games, the Devils offense has gone into hibernation. Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac have not played up to their standards and will have to get it going if New Jersey wants a long playoff run.
The main story lines in Friday`s night`s matchup will be – Who will bring the intensity? Who will show signs of momentum? Which team wants it more? Both teams have reasons to be motivated for this game. For Jersey, they want to overtake the rival Penguins in the standings.
For the Blackhawks, they need their mojo back – a win against the Devils would go a long way in helping them get it back. Chicago is 2-6 in their last eight road games and are 2-10-1 in their last eleven meetings with the Devils. New Jersey is 40-17 in their last 57 on home ice.
NHL Betting Trends:
Chicago is 3-7 SU in its last 10 games
New Jersey is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Chicago
The total has gone OVER in 4 of New Jersey’s last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New Jersey’s last 5 games when playing Chicago
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Chicago’s last 5 games when playing New Jersey
The total has gone OVER in 16 of Chicago’s last 22 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Chicago’s last 6 games
New Jersey10-2-1 SU in its last 13 games when playing Chicago
I like the trends to continue.
Blackhawks vs. Devils Free Pick: New Jersey Devils