NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blackhawks vs. Canucks (January 24)
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Blackhawks celebrate.
- The Vancouver Canucks host the Chicago Blackhawks in NHL action on Tuesday night.
- Vancouver gets to face the worst team in the league in the first game of new head coach Rick Tocchet.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including how to bet it.
Blackhawks vs. Canucks Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
To say Vancouver has been a mess lately would be putting it lightly, but with Rick Tocchet taking over as the head coach, the Canucks have an opportunity to treat this moment as a fresh start. It helps that Tocchet’s first challenge will be against the lowly Blackhawks on Tuesday, though Chicago has won six of its last eight games, so it would be unwise assume the squad will be a pushover.
So can Tocchet overcome the Blackhawks’ hot streak and win in his Canucks’ debut or is there more misery ahead for Vancouver?
Even with Chicago’s recently success, the Blackhawks still rank 30th in the league with a 14-27-4 record, which really underscores just how bad a season they’ve been having.
Chicago has an eye towards rebuilding, but the Blackhawks aren’t devoid of veteran talent, and some of those legacy players from a time when the franchise had higher aspirations have been at the forefront of the recent success.
For example, Seth Jones has three goals and 11 points over his last nine contests while Jonathan Toews has contributed two goals and seven points in his last eight games. They’ve helped the Blackhawks average 3.50 goals for over their last eight contests, which is in stark contrast to Chicago’s season average of 2.40.
Not all the recent news in Chicago is encouraging, though. Tyler Johnson, who was finally starting to get going by scoring two goals and six points in seven games from Jan. 6-21, suffered an ankle injury Sunday and won’t be an option for Tuesday’s contest against Vancouver.
Goaltender Alex Stalock is also back in the concussion protocol. That leaves Chicago with Petr Mrazek as its de facto starting goaltender. He has a 5-11-1 record, 3.87 GAA and .886 save percentage in 19 contests this season.
The Canucks rank 11th offensively with 3.28 goals per game and if anything, they’re capable of better. Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser are all ideal top-six forwards while Andrei Kuzmenko has made a flawless transition from the KHL, providing 19 goals and 41 points in 45 contests in his first NHL campaign.
To compliment them, Vancouver has one of the league’s best offensive defensemen in Quinn Hughes. This core group might not stay intact for much longer because the Canucks are likely to be major sellers at the deadline, but for now, Tocchet is inheriting an embarrassment of riches up front.
Meanwhile, Vancouver’s goaltending has simply been an embarrassment. Thatcher Demko (lower body) hasn’t played since Dec. 1. He wasn’t having a great season anyway, but Spencer Martin and Collin Delia haven’t been up to the task of manning Vancouver’s net in his absence.
Martin has an 11-12-1 record, 3.86 GAA and .877 save percentage in 26 games this season. Delia looks closer to acceptable with his 4-3-0 record, 3.18 GAA and .897 save percentage in nine outings, but he’s trending in the wrong direction with a 3.85 GAA and .870 save percentage over his last five games.
It’s not like Vancouver’s blueline has been doing its part either. The Canucks have 157.77 expected goals allowed, per Moneypuck, which suggests that part of the problem has been the skaters in front of the goaltender, but either way this team is a mess in its own end.
Finding some way to fix that will be tasks one, two and three for Tocchet.
Blackhawks vs. Canucks Pick
Chicago’s recent success really hasn’t done anything to persuade oddsmakers to treat this as anything other than an easy projected win for Vancouver.
There is part of me that’s tempted to take the Blackhawks on the moneyline. Coaching switches can provide a team with a boost, but the way Vancouver did it was so messy, and it highlights the overall front office problems this team is having. Vancouver has an 18-25-3 record at this point, so the squad has no realistic hope of making the playoffs, and some of the team’s best players may already have a foot out the door as we approach the trade deadline.
Still, I’m going to hedge my bets by taking Chicago on the puck line. The potential payout is substantially lower, but I like the safety of still winning the bet even if Vancouver ends up earning a narrow victory.
What is QuickSlip?
QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.