Chicago at Pittsburgh NHL Prediction, Odds & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Tuesday,March 28, 2017 10:45, EST in

NBC TV executives would kill for a matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, and it’s quite possible that those two will face off. They have combined for five Stanley Cups since 2009. The Hawks and Penguins close their regular-season series against one another on Wednesday night, and the Pens will be slight home NHL odds favorites.

Chicago at Pittsburgh NHL Prediction, Odds & TV Info

When: Wednesday, March 29, 8 PM ET
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh
TV: NBC Sports Network
Stream: NHL.tv
RadioChicago / Pittsburgh
Opening NHL Lines: Penguins favored by TBA

Why Bet on the Blackhawks?

Chicago is closing in on clinching the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. That said, the Hawks laid a major egg on Saturday in losing 7-0 to the Florida Panthers. That had trap game written all over it – can you say players out on South Beach the night before?

“Games like that we have to get out of our system and get back to trending in the right direction as we get close to the postseason,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “We can’t let that complacency creep into our game.”

Patrick Kane was involved in his first NHL fight Saturday night against Florida. Well, Kane really was just holding on to the Panthers’ Jussi Jokienen in a scrum and was only penalized two minutes for roughing. That said, it’s as close as Kane has come to fisticuffs in the NHL.

The Hawks are still 18-4- 1 in their last 23. And they’ve taken charge of the Western Conference in the process. Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks have been struggling, and the Minnesota Wild look like a team in full-blown meltdown mode.

Defenseman Johnny Oduya is feeling more comfortable with the Blackhawks, but he still has some work to do. Oduya was re-acquired by the ‘Hawks before the trade deadline. Although he’s feeling more comfortable with his “new” team, he admits he’s still not completely up to speed. “I feel pretty good. Of course it’s a lot easier when you have guys around you you’ve seen before, a coaching staff,” Oduya said. “It’s a work in progress, anyway. I want to be better, I want to evolve with the team and want us to be better, too. It’s a work in progress.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville thinks Artem Anisimov (lower body) will be ready for the postseason. Anisimov was projected to miss three-to- four weeks as of March 15, so it would be a small victory if he plays at all for the rest of the regular season. Anisimov has 22 goals and 45 points in 64 games in 2016-17.

Why Bet on the Penguins?

Pittsburgh is battling with Washington and Columbus for first place in the Metropolitan Division and the most points in the Eastern Conference. However, the Pens come in on a three-game losing streak. It was an embarrassing 6-2 home loss to rival Philadelphia Sunday.

Patric Hornqvist turned in a goal and an assist. Hornqvist snaps a three-game pointless drought and brings him to 19 tallies and 41 points in 64 games this season. Hornqvist has reached the 50-point mark in the past three seasons. Matt Murray allowed five goals on 32 shots. The 22-year- old fell to 28-10- 4 this season with a 2.40 goals against average and .923 save percentage. Murray hasn’t allowed five goals in a game since Jan. 16.

Conor Sheary suffered a lower-body injury in Sunday’s loss. Sheary left the game midway through the first period and did not return. For as long as he’s out, a case could be made the Penguins are without four of their eight most dangerous offensive players. Sheary has already missed a handful of games this season due to various injuries, which has stunted a still-impressive 21-goal, 50-point campaign in 54 contests

In addition to Sheary, Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Kris Letang (upper body) and Jake Guentzel (concussion) are sidelined. Letang has been out since Feb. 21, and Malkin has missed six straight games, yet the Penguins aren’t too far removed from an 8-1- 1 stretch that extended well into March.

Sidney Crosby wasn’t pleased with his team’s effort in at loss. The Penguins have now dropped three straight games (two in a shootout) and their captain wants to see more from his team.

“That’s the way it’s going,” said Crosby. “We’ve got to find ways to win games. We can’t control who’s in and out, but we’ve got to be able to make sure our effort’s there. We didn’t give ourselves much of a chance.”

Chicago at Pittsburgh NHL Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh lost 4-1 in Chicago on March 1. Kane had a hat trick. The Pens get payback.