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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks Picks & NHL Preview

Hawks vs Nucks NHL Line & Handicapping

Heated, Hated Rivals Do Battle in Vancouver – Scuffling Blackhawks Play Visit

If you have been backing the Chicago Blackhawks lately – I, like you am at a loss. A loss last night in Calgary of all places has officially dropped the Hawks out of first place in the Central Division – they are 0-2-2 in their last four games and 4-3-6 in their last 13 overall.

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Chicago (32-10-6-7) at Vancouver (27-18-3-6)
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
Broadcast: TSN; WGN
Hawks vs. Canucks Betting Lines
Chicago Blackhawks -1½ +250 -116 Ov 5½ +114 Ov 2½ -145 Un 2½ +115
Vancouver Canucks +1½ -300 +105 Un 5½ -126 Ov 2½ -115 Un 2½ -115

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On Wednesday night Chicago visits an old rival Vancouver who has also had some issues as of late. The Canucks are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and are also coming off a loss to one of the weak cousins in the Western Conference – Edmonton. This is the rubber match in their three game season series between the two clubs – the road team has won both matchups so far.

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The Chicago Blackhawks have officially hit the skids – not even a trip to Calgary could cure their current woes. Overtime has been their kryptonite so far this season – Chicago’s 13 losses after regulation are the most in the league and the team is 0-6 in overtime games that haven’t gone to a shootout. Hopes are that the Hawks can avoid extra time Wednesday night and they can take care of business in 60 minutes.

The Blackhawks still own one of the best offenses in the NHL – four goals last night only added to their impressive season average of 3.44 per game. But there are still a number of top flight players that are simply absent night in and night out on the score sheet. Patrick Kane has registered just two goals and five assists in his last 14 games, Patrick Sharp has scored just one goal in 11 games since registering his second hat trick in five contests on Jan. 3, Kris Versteeg has two points in 12 games and Brent Seabrook is pointless in five. Nobody is playing well offensively for the Hawks except for Marian Hossa who scored twice for Chicago on Tuesday and has four goals in five games.

Corey Crawford should get the start in goal Wednesday – he came in for an ineffective Antti Raanta last night. Crawford is 3-1-2 with a 1.63 GAA and .944 save percentage in his last six starts against Vancouver. He is 0-1-2 in his last three starts overall with a 2.69 GAA and .892 save percentage.

The Vancouver Canucks have won two of their first three on their current four game home stand but they haven’t exactly been lights out lately. They are just 3-5-0 in their last eight games while scoring just 13 goals over that span (5 in one game against Phoenix). They have scored more than two goals just once over that span and have gone 2-for-32 on the power play in those games.
The reason? None of the top players are playing up to their level. Henrik Sedin is likely out with a rib injury again but Daniel Sedin has gone 13 games without a goal, while Alexandre Burrows hasn’t scored in any of the 22 games of his injury-shortened season, Ryan Kesler has one goal in 10 games and David Booth hasn’t scored in 14. Yuk!

Instead of the Studs Vancouver is counting on guys like Jordan Schroeder who scored twice against Edmonton, Kevin Bieksa who scored twice against Phoenix and Chris Higgins who has three points in two games.

Simply put – the top guys need to get going or Vancouver is just an average NHL team.

Roberto Luongo should get the start Wednesday after a somewhat disappointing and weird game against Edmonton – he gave up three goals on 19 shots. Lou is 1-1-0 with a 3.47 GAA and .865 save percentage in his last two games overall but has been terrific recently in the regular season versus Chicago – a 4-1-1 record, 1.64 goals-against average and .953 save percentage.

Dave’s FREE NHL Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:
• CHI are 11-4 in their last 15 vs. Pacific.
• Over is 16-7 in CHI last 23 road games.
• CHI are 37-18 in their last 55 Wed. games.
• Under is 6-2 in VAN last 8 Wed. games.
• Under is 25-9-5 in VAN last 39 home games.
• VAN are 4-10 in their last 14 overall.
• CHI are 3-7 in the last 10 meetings in Vancouver.

The Blackhawks are 11-0-5 against the Pacific this season and they did go 6-1-0 in their last trip out West. But that was when they were hot. They certainly aren’t right now. That said Vancouver is struggling to score goals even against Ilya Bryzgalov Monday night. That will plague them Wednesday night. Chicago rises to the occasion and gets it done in a close, exciting game.

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -116


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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.