Have you taken a look at the NHL standings lately? The Chicago Blackhawks led the Western Conference in points last year but are in the Central Division cellar. The Minnesota Wild, who were second in the West in points, are just one out of the cellar. So it’s an important game Wednesday night in the Windy City, one of just two NHL odds options on the schedule
Minnesota at Chicago NHL Odds & Expert Preview for WednesdayNHL.com/tvRadio: KFAN FM 100.3 (Minnesota) / WGN 720 AM (Chicago)Opening NHL Odds: Hawks -120, Wild +110 (5.5)
Season SeriesIt’s the fourth of five meetings with Chicago leading 2-1. The Wild won the first game, 5-2 in Chicago on Oct. 12. Chris Stewart broke a tie midway through the third period with the first of his two goals. Jason Zucker had a goal and an assist, and Devan Dubnyk made 36 saves. On Nov. 4 in St. Paul, the Blackhawks won 2-0. Corey Crawford made 24 saves and Artem Anisimov scored a power-play goal with 5:42 left in the third period. Dubnyk stopped 33 shots for Minnesota.On Dec. 17 in Chicago, the Hawks won 4-1. Patrick Kane had two goals and Crawford 27 saves. Ryan Hartman also scored for Chicago, and Tommy Wingels added a short-handed empty-netter. Matt Dumba scored at 5:56 of the third, spoiling Crawford’s shutout bid on a screened shot from the right point. Alex Stalock made 42 saves for the Wild.The teams play one last time on Feb. 10 in St. Paul.
Why Bet on Minnesota’s NHL Odds?Second of a back-to-back for the Wild as they hosted Calgary on Tuesday. 9. Stalock started that game so it should be Dubnyk on Wednesday. In his last start, Dubnyk allowed six goals on 32 shots in a 7-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. It was a tough night for Dubnyk who let out his frustrations on rookie forward Alex Kerfoot, slamming his head into the ice after Colorado’s forward gave him a slight bump after the whistle. The Wild’s starting goaltender had his three-game winning streak snapped, and his record falls to 15-9-2 with a 2.72 goals against average and .916 save percentage.What makes this time of year intriguing is the bye weeks. While about half the teams are currently on one, the Wild and the rest take off next week. So stockpiling points now becomes vital.“This is a big week. It’s a big week visually, I guess,” Dubnyk said Monday. “You don’t want to have to sit there next week and watch teams go past. You want them to be trying to catch up. At the end of the day, we’re in playoff mode now until the end of the season. That’s just the situation it is with how jam-packed the Western Conference is. So whether it’s a bye week or not, every game from here on out is going to be extremely important of us.”Back-to-back games have not been kind to the Wild this season. The games against the Flames on Tuesday and Blackhawks on Wednesday in the Windy City constitute the seventh time Minnesota has embarked on games on consecutive days. The Wild is 2-4-0 on the front half of those sets, the same as on the back half.
Why Bet on Chicago’s NHL Odds?It’s the second of a back-to-back for Chicago as well as it was in Ottawa on Tuesday. The Hawks are without Crawford and Anisimov due to injuries. Anisimov (upper body) may not be back until after Chicago’s bye week.The 33-year-old Crawford has been out since leaving a Dec. 23 game against New Jersey in the first period after giving up three goals. It makes sense that some injury — classified as “upper body” by the team — was the culprit for such a poor performance, as Crawford has the second-best save percentage and third-best goals against average among starting NHL goalies. He remains out indefinitely.Because Anton Forsberg was in net Tuesday, it should be 32-year-old journeyman Jeff Glass here. Glass made 38 saves on 43 shots in a 5-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night. Glass lost his first regulation start. His record fell to 2-1-1 with a 3.51 goals-against-average and a .908 save percentage. The Hawks really miss Crawford.One Chicago bright spot: Nick Schmaltz scored a goal in his career-high third straight tilt Sunday, giving him 10 markers on the year. Schmaltz is one of six different Blackhawks with 10+ goals in 2017-18 – tied for most in hockey.Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, once one of the best in the NHL, was a healthy scratch from the starting lineup Tuesday. After starting the season with three points in the first game of the season, Seabrook has become a polarizing topic of conversation in regards to the starting lineup and underwhelming performances. Seabrook, who is an alternate captain, has one goal and 10 assists in 41 games this season. He has played in 964 regular-season games and 123 playoff games for the Blackhawks, winning three Stanley Cups. He carries a cap hit of $6.875 million and has six years remaining on his contract. It’s unclear how long this benching will last, but coach Joel Quenneville is sending a message to his team.
Latest NHL Betting Trends
- Minnesota is 8-17 ATS in the last 25 games
- Minnesota is 1-5 SU in the last 6 games on the road
- The total went OVER in 5 of Minnesota’s last 7 games
- Chicago is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 games
- Chicago is 4-2 SU in the last 6 games
- The total went OVER in 6 of Chicago’s last 7 games