NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blackhawks vs. Jets (Monday, Feb. 14)
Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor Hellebuyck (Jets)
Blackhawks vs. Jets Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After earning five of a possible six points last week in three tough Central Division battles, the Winnipeg Jets will look to continue their push for a playoff spot when they open a four-game homestand against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.
The Blackhawks have won just one of their last five games, and now sit well out of the playoff picture in the NHL’s Western Conference.
Here’s the latest on both teams, and a look at the betting landscape heading into Monday’s game.
Blackhawks Completing Road Trip
The Blackhawks will be finishing up a strange three-game road trip. They defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 4-1, last Tuesday, then dropped a 5-1 decision to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday before heading back to Canada for Monday’s meet-up in Winnipeg.
Thanks to a relatively well-spaced schedule, Chicago has been riding goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury almost exclusively since the new year. He has appeared in 15 of his team’s 16 games since Jan. 4, putting up a 6-7-2 record with a .902 save percentage and 3.05 goals-against average.
That’s not bad, but not exactly befitting the winner of the 2021 Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best net-minder.
All told, the Blackhawks’ goals-against average during that stretch is 3.31, and they’re scoring just 2.69 goals per game. They’re probably fortunate to be just one game below .500 during that period.
Chicago’s power play has been a recent bright spot, clicking at 26.1%. But the club’s possession data at 5-on-5 basically matches the eye test, ranking 25th over the last 16 games with an expected goals rate of 46.83%.
On the injury front, the biggest note is the ongoing absence of captain Jonathan Toews due to a concussion. He has missed five games to date.
Jets Trending Up?
Meanwhile, for the first time in awhile, there’s some optimism around the Winnipeg Jets.
The departure of longtime coach Paul Maurice did little to light a fire under the squad, which has spent most of the season on the playoff bubble. The Jets are 7-7-3 since Maurice announced he was stepping aside on Dec. 17
But Winnipeg has come out of the All-Star break with a renewed purpose.
After shutting out the high-scoring Minnesota Wild last Thursday, the Jets got a last-minute goal from Mark Scheifele to force overtime and earn a point in Dallas on Friday.
Then, they scored five unanswered goals in Nashville on Saturday, erasing a 2-0 deficit to earn another win against a tough division rival.
The best part for Jets fans? Connor Hellebucyk has played every minute of those three games, including the back-to-backs in Dallas and Nashville.
After performing below his usual standard for much of this season, the 2020 Vezina Trophy winner delivered the big saves when his team needed them, helping them pick up some very valuable points.
The Jets still have more work to do. Heading into Monday, they’re sitting 12th in the Western Conference, seven points back of the second wild-card spot.
They’re still thin on defense, with Nathan Beaulieu, Logan Stanley and Dylan Samberg all sidelined with injuries. And offensive powerhouse Nikolaj Ehlers remains on the shelf with a sprained MCL.
But captain Blake Wheeler looks like he’s ready to put his team on his back again. He’s rounding back into form after missing a month with a knee issue.
Wheeler almost single-handedly engineered Saturday’s comeback in Nashville with a five-point night, tallying two goals and three assists.
Just like the Blackhawks, the Jets are one game below .500 since Jan. 4. With two fewer games played, they’re at 5-6-3.
At 5-on-5, their overall impact isn’t much different, either. Winnipeg ranks one spot better than Chicago, with an expected goals percentage of 47.98%.
But momentum matters in sports, and new coach Dave Lowry seems to have found a way to tap into it coming out of All-Star Weekend. The Jets look dialed into making their now-or-never playoff push.
With Wheeler and Hellebuyck looking sharp after enduring their share of struggles this season, I like Winnipeg’s chances of keeping things going — as long as the Blackhawks aren’t taken lightly.
The Jets won the only previous meeting between the two sides so far this season, cruising to a 5-1 home win in early November with backup Eric Comrie guarding the crease.
At -160, the oddsmakers are giving Winnipeg a 61.5% chance of winning again on Monday. That seems realistic. For a little extra boost, consider tapping the Jets for a regulation win on the 60-minute line.
Even the puck line (+150) is a reasonable bet this situation.
Pick: Jets in regulation (-110); play down to -130