NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Blackhawks vs. Canucks (Jan. 31)
David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Thatcher Demko.
- The Blackhawks head to Vancouver looking to win just their second game in five tries.
- The Canucks also have just one win in their last five games, but four were without goalie Thatcher Demko who is suiting up tonight.
- Jonny Lazarus breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Blackhawks vs. Canucks Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
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The Vancouver Canucks sure are happy that they got their starting goaltender back from COVID, but Thatcher Demko’s 31-save performance was not enough to win against Calgary as the Flames defeated them 1-0 in overtime on Saturday.
The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off a strong game against a tough Colorado Avalanche team, but they fell short losing by the score of 6-4.
Vancouver Canucks Relying on Strong Goaltending
The Vancouver Canucks were very happy to get Thatcher Demko back after missing games due to COVID. Demko has been the backbone for this team, but the Canucks have struggled lately in result of his absence. Demko is 17-14-2 on the year and has a +8.6 Goals Saved Above Expected.
The Canucks are 1-1-3 in their last five games and were shut out in their most recent game on Saturday, which was the only game that Demko started in during this stretch.
J.T. Miller has had an incredibly productive season. Miller has 15 goals and 29 assists through 42 games, but this team needs some more help offensively. The Canucks have the 29th-best offense in the league, only scoring 2.43 goals per game, but they rank 13th in shots on goal per game, averaging 32.3 per 60.
Demko will be able to handle the Blackhawks offense, but he is going to need his team to score some goals tonight.
Chicago Blackhawks Amidst Tough Stretch
The Chicago Blackhawks have not had the easiest schedule as of late. In their last five games, they have gone 1-3-1, losing to the Wild and Avalanche twice each in that span. Their only win came on the road in Detroit where they were led by a hat trick from Dylan Strome.
Chicago has struggled defensively in this five-game span as it has allowed a combined 22 goals. Marc-Andre Fleury has been very streaky all season long. He has a record of 14-14-3 with a -8.7 Goals Saved Above Expected and a .909 save percentage in his first season with the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks have been relatively weak on the defensive end for the entirety of this season. They are giving up 3.34 goals against per game, which ranks 24th. They also allow 29 shots on net which ranks 26th.
The United Center has been known as a very tough environment to play in as a road team, but this year the Blackhawks are just 8-8-3 at home in the Madhouse on Madison.
A starter hasn’t been named yet, but Fleury is expected to get the nod.
Blackhawks vs. Canucks Pick
This matchup is all about the goaltending battle. Fleury has been a bit inconsistent this season, but Thatcher Demko has been very reliable.
The Canucks and Blackhawks both rank towards the bottom of the league offensively, and even though the Blackhawks have produced more as of late, they will have a very hard time getting pucks past Demko.
I think this will be a very tight game, and I think the goaltenders will steal the show.
Pick: Under 5.5 +105