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Hurricanes vs. Blackhawks NHL Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Value on Underdog Thanks to Hot Goaltending Hand

Hurricanes vs. Blackhawks NHL Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Value on Underdog Thanks to Hot Goaltending Hand article feature image

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Lankinen

  • The Chicago Blackhawks host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at the United Center.
  • Carolina is a Stanley Cup contender and favored to beat the rebuilding Blackhawks.
  • Chicago has had a hot goaltending hand, though, and that makes them an interesting bet in this matchup.

Hurricanes vs. Blackhawks Odds

Hurricanes -185
Blackhawks +155
Over/Under 6.0
Time | TV 8 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday night and via PointsBet.

When Miikka Kiprusoff guided the Calgary Flames to a Stanley Cup Final in 2004, it kicked off an out-of-nowhere run of Finnish goaltenders dominating the NHL. Over the last two decades, it hasn’t relented, as Pekka Rinne, Niklas Backstrom, Kari Lehtonen, Tuukka Rask and a host of others have taken the league by storm. 

Did the Finnish government take Kiprusoff’s DNA and use it to create these goaltenders in a lab on the outskirts of Helsinki? Who could say? I certainly have not seen them deny this. 

The Chicago Blackhawks are hoping yet another netminding android is the key to them turning around a season that was headed for big trouble between the pipes. Can Kevin Lankinen keep it going on Tuesday night against the Hurricanes?

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Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes are flying under the radar because of a brief COVID-related break to their season, but they’ve quietly strung together four wins in a row against quality opposition in Nashville, Tampa Bay and Dallas — all fellow contenders in the Central Division. If you peer a little closer though, there’s some reason to be skeptical of the Canes’ recent results. 

The Predators had the advantage in expected goal share (XG%) in their loss to the Canes. Carolina survived 16 high-danger chances to get an overtime win over the Lightning, who have otherwise struggled to create while even-strength over the last few games. Then came the mini-sweep of the Stars over the weekend where Dallas came to town more than a little wounded, missing Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Carolina jumped on the Stars early, then put the clamps down defensively. In the rematch, Benn returned with a goal and an assist in a game that ultimately went to a shootout. If the shootout coin flip lands the wrong way for the Canes, we’re talking about a 2-2 record with a pair of pretty soft wins. 

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks will take any wins, soft or otherwise. After just 10 games, it seems like their best chance at putting wins together will be at home. On the road, the Hawks are 0-6 and in all six games they were on the sub-.500 side of the XG%. They’re 3-1 at home with a decidedly better XG%, and the Blackhawks were also the better even-strength team in their one setback, a loss to Columbus where the Jackets got more high-danger chances.

The Blackhawks have excelled on the power play, clicking at 33.3% while getting an average of three opportunities per game, and that’ll be put to the test on Tuesday against the league’s second-best penalty kill. While we can’t predict power-play goals on a game-to-game basis, Chicago being able to break through the Carolina PK will be essential to pulling off the upset at home.

The key to the Blackhawks’ turnaround has been a stabilizing force in the crease in the form of Lankinen. The Finnish rookie has rocketed to the top of the Goals Saved Above Average rating at +6.10 GSAA, giving up only one goal in each of the last two losses.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Admittedly, Chicago’s quality of opposition on the road this season has been much better than its quality of opponent at home, but Carolina being the best team the Blackhawks have faced at the United Center is already factored into the price. A price I think is just too high. 

The Blackhawks’ reputation and their rating in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model have been dragged down by the poor goaltending they got from Malcolm Subban (-1.14 GSAA) and Collin Delia (-3.04), but even with those results included, the true moneyline comes out to CAR -135/CHI +135.

That number doesn’t factor in home-ice advantage, but any consideration only makes Chicago’s price more attractive, especially when considering that the Canes have been at home for their last three wins. I’ll take a shot with the home underdog being undervalued against the dark-horse Cup contender and put my money on the latest model off the Finnish goaltending assembly line.

Pick: Blackhawks (+150 or better)

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