Sunday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks Betting Preview
Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Marc-Andre Fleury.
- Chicago continues its road swing Sunday when it faces Vancouver in an NHL matchup.
- The Canucks have scored just 10 goals in their last five games, but are the betting favorite in this meeting.
- Jacob McKenna breaks down the game below and delivers his top selection.
Blackhawks vs. Canucks Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Chicago Blackhawks continue their four-game road trip on Sunday night when they make the trip to Vancouver to take on the Canucks.
As of Saturday, Chicago comes into the matchup with a record of just 5-9-2, good enough for seventh place in the Central Division. Similarly, the Canucks enter this one with a record of 6-10-2, finding themselves in seventh place in the Pacific.
Despite getting off to a slow start, Chicago appears to have found some momentum in what could be the start of a nice turnaround. Will that momentum continue in Vancouver, or will the Canucks hold their ground on their home ice?
Blackhawks Have Begun Climb From Bottom
The beginning of the season was a disaster for this Blackhawks team. After acquiring Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury in the offseason, many began to believe that Chicago was a sleeper team and had the potential to contend. However, they ended up winning just one of their first 12 games in what was a historically bad start.
The good news is that the bad start looks like it may be in the rearview mirror. As of Saturday evening before their matchup against Edmonton, the Blackhawks have won four straight games, outscoring their opponents 11-6 in that same four game span. Furthermore, they have not allowed more than two goals in any game during their win streak.
Their newly found success is a welcome sight, but this is still a team that struggles to score the puck which likely hinders their chances at keeping this winning streak going. At this point in the season, Chicago is scoring just 1.52 goals per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations and has only scored a total of 20 goals in 5-on-5, two categories that it is ranked last in the NHL in.
Defensively speaking, this squad has not been much better outside of its recent success. This is still a team that is in the bottom 10 of the NHL in Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes, and it is surrendering the third most goals in 5-on-5 situations.
A lot of Chicago’s issues do stem from inconsistent goaltending, as the previously mentioned Marc-Andre Fleury has not played up to the level we are used to seeing. Fleury is expected to get the start in net in this one, and in 5-on-5 situations he has an SV % of .899, HDSV% of .778, and -7.0 Goals Saved Above Expected in all situations.
Canucks Cannot Find Ways to Score
The Canucks have been trending in the wrong direction since the start of November, going 3-5-1 since the month began.
Similar to Chicago, this is a team that simply does not score the puck enough to consistently compete. Vancouver is averaging just two goals per game over its last five, and on the season it is ranked in the bottom seven in Expected Goals For per 60 minutes with 2.12.
That level of scoring will rarely get the job done, and when it is combined with poor play on defense, the likelihood of winning falls dramatically.
As I just mentioned, the Canucks have only scored 10 total goals in their last five games, and in that same five-game span they have allowed their opponents to score 25 total goals. Their Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes is 2.42, which is an obvious improvement when compared to their play recently, but their consistent struggles on defense are a cause for concern.
Thatcher Demko will likely get the start in net, and in his start against Chicago earlier this season he allowed just one goal to get through. In 5-on-5 this season, Demko has an SV % of .932 and -0.4 Goals Saved Above Expected in all situations.
Blackhawks vs. Canucks Pick
We’ve already seen Chicago and Vancouver face off one time earlier this season, a game in which Vancouver won by a score of 4-1.
The Blackhawks being on a back-to-back throws another element into this one. Chicago is 0-2 this season on the back end of a back-to-back, and has averaged just one goal per game in those two games.
Both defenses have struggled this year and have been vulnerable to giving up goals, but neither offense has done enough to make me think they can pour on the goals. I think we will likely see a fatigued Chicago team since they play Edmonton on Saturday night as well.
By game time the total could move down to 5.5, but as of right now the total sits at six goals, and I think that is a number that is too high given the circumstances that are in play.
Pick: Total under 6 (-110)
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