NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blackhawks vs. Oilers (Wednesday, Feb. 9)
Codie McLachlan/Getty Images. Pictured: Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid.
- The Edmonton Oilers host the Chicago Blackhawks in Wednesday's NHL action.
- Connor McDavid and the Oilers are coming off a 4-0 loss to Vegas in their latest matchup, while the Blackhawks suffered a 5-0 defeat last time out.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down this contest below and gives his best bet tied to the game total.
Blackhawks vs. Oilers Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Edmonton looks to shake off Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to division rival Vegas when it plays host to Chicago in this back-to-back set in Wednesday’s NHL action.
Chicago will be desperate to fare better themselves coming out of the All-Star break, having started to falter again defensively throughout a 1-5-2 stretch, showing closer to the dreadful form seen earlier in the year that led to a downpour of goals against under former coach Jeremy Colliton.
So, will Chicago be able to bounce back in this favorable spot?
For much of new hire Derek King’s tenure, Chicago was a team expected for regression from many, as it had mainly just managed to play low-event hockey and win games past regulation in 3-on-3 and shootout, leading to an above .500 record.
All things considered, though, that was way better than where things were when King took over, so this style was by no means a downgrade.
However, the Blackhawks have finally started to show some of those defensive leaks seen earlier in the season, and the breakdowns have allowed Marc-Andre Fleury to come back down to earth big time over his last six contests, with an .846 save % over that time.
Chicago have had a lesser share of the play over this 1-5-2 stretch, with a 44.29 xGF% and 3.04 xGA/60 rating, allowing a 3.87 goals against per game.
So, the vastly improved defensive play is coming back down to earth, and they will be in tough in that regard tomorrow night against what will no doubt be a very hungry Edmonton squad looking to bounce-back from an embarrassing home performance.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who should get the start, has posted a -12.6 goals saved above expected rating with a .908 save % throughout 33 games played in what has been a very up and down season for last year’s Vezina Trophy winner.
Edmonton was unable to build on a strong offensive performance against Washington, in what was clearly a sharp and urgent effort from a very strong Vegas Golden Knights team.
An expected goals score of 3.07-2.47 suggests the Oilers could have fared better, but with that said that mark was clearly generous to Edmonton’s overall play, and Vegas were the better club overall.
The Oilers shaky defensive play was again a concern in the contest, as well as an altogether less than stellar outing in goal yet again, with Mike Smith putting together a mediocre at best effort in his return.
Offensively, nights like that are going to happen in this very tight league, but I do believe the bodies are there to produce an above average offensive output most nights. However, the Oilers downfall will be the play from the back end and suspect goaltending, and we shouldn’t see too many nights were this club goes multiple goals below expected moving forward.
Over the last three seasons Edmonton have finished with 34.66 more goals than expected, with a positive mark each year, and this overachievement is no doubt led from the abilities of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to finish and create numbers bending plays.
Yet, this year the Oilers have scored -0.64 goals above expected, and in turn I do think an offensive uptick down the stretch is a firm possibility, particularly with Evander Kane and Zach Hyman in the mix with this team.
Stuart Skinner will likely start with Mike Smith having played Tuesday and Mikko Koskinen on the COVID-19 protocols list. He has been arguably the best option, with a -1.1 goals saved above expected rating and .908 save % throughout 12 games played.
Edmonton surely could have produced somewhat more against Vegas, but definitely hit somewhat of a wall in what was a really strong effort from an excellent Golden Knights team.
However, to think that they can bounce back here against a Chicago club that has began to falter again seems very reasonable, and I think we should see McDavid, Draisaitl and company find a way to break through.
At the same time, the Oilers’ defensive play continues to look less than sharp and that concern lies some shaky net-minding. So, it’s easy to see Chicago able to put together some offense in this spot.
That said, I think this is a good spot for both teams to produce goals, which has me seeing value in backing the game to clear 6.5 goals and would play it down to -125 odds.
Pick: Total Over 6.5 Goals (-110)
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