A pair of longtime foes will face off in Motown on Wednesday night. The Chicago Blackhawks (8-5-4) have been one of their surprises of the new season, winning five of their last six games. The Detroit Red Wings (4-10-3), meanwhile, have lost three out of four as they hope to climb out of last place in the Central Division.
Here is a look at some stats and notes, along with a free pick, for Wednesday’s game between the Blackhawks and Red Wings. This is already the fourth time these teams have played, with Chicago winning all three previous matchups.
By the Numbers
As a whole, Chicago’s offense ranks about average, but it is considerably better than Detroit’s. The Hawks are averaging 2.94 goals per game on 30.6 shots, ranking 16th and 13th in the NHL, respectively. Their best area has been on the power play, where they have the third-best rating at 32.7 percent. Comparatively, the Red Wings score an average of 2.06 goals, the second-fewest in hockey, on 27.2 shots. They also boast a power-play percentage of 7.5, the second-lowest in the sport.
Things are a little bit more, even on the defensive side. Detroit is allowing a respectable 28.5 shots per game, the 11th fewest in the league. Chicago meanwhile allows a league-high 34.1 shots. However, the Hawks have the advantage with 2.88 goals allowed compared to 3.18 for the Wings, while Chicago also boasts the superior penalty kill at 81.1 percent to 73.5.
Blackhawks Betting Preview
After beginning the year with four straight losses, the Blackhawks have won eight games and lost five. And out of those eight wins, three have come against the hapless Red Wings, whom they’ve out-scored 13-5 as well. However, facing adversity in the form of players like Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dich being out, the Blackhawks are getting strong production from a number of players.
At age 32, Patrick Kane is still one of the league’s top players. Kane has a team-high 22 points, 15 of them coming via assists, as he has been the ultimate veteran playmaker for this young Blackhawk team. One of those young players is Alex DeBrincat, who has a team-leading eight goals to go with eight assists. Dominik Kubalik is another, as the second-year player is up to 14 points, with a whopping 10 of those coming on the power play. Pius Suter and Mattias Janmark are two other players in double-figures for Chicago, with the rookie Suter registering a hat trick against Detroit in his sixth career game.
A big reason for Chicago’s season turning around has been the emergence of rookie goaltender Kevin Lankinen. The 25-year old is 6-2-3 with a 2.49 GAA and .925 save percentage. With Malcolm Subban starting the last game, expect Lankinen to return to the crease to go against a team he has beaten twice before.
Red Wings Betting Preview
Unlike Chicago, the Red Wings actually began their season with a pair of wins in four games. But that was the last time things felt hopeful. Since then, Detroit has just two wins and 11 losses, the brunt of which came during an eight-game losing streak. But although they’ve lost three times to the Blackhawks already, the Red Wings have out-shot Chicago in two of their three meetings, including the most recent game that had to be settled in overtime.
Detroit doesn’t have a dominant player like Kane, but they have a number of decent contributors. There’s a three-way tie for the team lead in points, with Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, and Filip Hronek all registering nine. Mantha has five goals and four assists, Larkin has an extra assist and one fewer goal, while Hronek has all nine of his points from helpers. Others to watch include veterans Bobby Ryan and Vladislav Namestnikov, each of whom has four goals, with Namestnikov getting his fourth goal of the year Monday against Chicago.
In net, expect Detroit to turn to Thomas Greiss. Greiss, who has faced Chicago twice this season, is 1-9-3 with a 2.90 GAA and .899 save percentage in his first season with the Wings. Expect the veteran Jonathan Bernier to serve as his backup.
The Blackhawks have beaten the Red Wings all three times this year. However, two of those victories came in Chicago. Additionally, Detroit has actually won the shots-on-goal battle twice against them, including in the most recent game. That may explain why the Hawks are only -140 favorites despite being the greatly-superior team, with the Red Wings coming in at +120.
It’s not enough that you get a playoff team favored against a lowly Red Wings team by so little. So take advantage of it by betting on the Blackhawks to roll on Wednesday with a big road victory.
Pick: Blackhawks -140
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