Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks Free Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Two teams currently on losing streaks, the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks meet at the United Center for a Western Conference tilt. The opening face-off is at 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 22, and you’ll be able to see it live on Sportsnet Pacific.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks Odds

Vancouver (+160) is playing the role of underdog to Chicago (-185) and the oddsmakers have put the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals. The odds for betting the total stand at -110 money on the over and -110 for the under.

Chicago is 30-44 straight up (SU) and has lost 19.1 units for moneyline bettors this year. That early-season winning percentage is a noticeable slide from what the team managed during last year’s regular season (50-32). Of the team’s 74 regular season outings, 37 have gone under the total, while 33 have gone over and just four have pushed. The team is 17-20 SU at home this season.

The Blackhawks have converted on just 16.1 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a mark that’s ranked 28th overall in the NHL. On the other hand, their penalty kill is ranked 22nd overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 79.0 percent of all penalties.

The Blackhawks, as a collective unit, have been penalized just 3.4 times per game overall this season, and 2.4 per game over their last five games at home. The team’s had to kill penalties for just 7.0 minutes per game over their last 10 outings, in total.

Averaging 27.9 saves per game with a .929 save percentage, Corey Crawford (16-12-2) has been the best goalkeeper for the Hawks this season. If Chicago chooses to give him the night off, however, head coach Joel Quenneville could roll with Anton Forsberg (10-22-22 record, .905 save percentage, 3.08 goals against average).

The Hawks will continue to rely on leadership from Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kane (70 points) has produced 25 goals and 45 assists and has recorded two or more points 19 times this year. Toews has 20 goals and 32 assists to his name and has recorded a point in 34 contests.

On the other side of the rink, Vancouver is 25-48 straight up (SU) and has lost 16.6 units for bettors taking the moneyline this year. Through 73 regular season matches, 41 of its games have gone over the total, while 32 have gone under and none have pushed. The Canucks are 13-24 SU as the away team this season.

The Canucks have converted on 21.8 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 23rd overall and it’s successfully killed off 78.1 percent of all opponent power plays.

Vancouver’s players have been called for penalties 3.8 times per game this season, 3.8 per game over their past five match ups total, and 4.0 per game over their last five on the road. The team has had to defend opponent power plays just 7.6 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Jacob Markstrom (26.2 saves per game) has been the primary option in the net for Vancouver. Markstrom has 18 wins, 36 losses, and seven OT losses to his credit, while registering a .909 save percentage and 2.80 goals against average this year.

Leading the offensive attack for the visiting Canucks will be Brock Boeser (29 goals, 26 assists) and Daniel Sedin (21 goals, 27 assists).

Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks Betting Picks

Prediction: SU Winner – Blackhawks, O/U – Under

Betting Notes

  • Vancouver is 0-3 in games decided by a shootout this season while Chicago is 1-1 in shootouts.
  • The over has hit in three of Chicago’s last five games.
  • The Blackhawks have averaged the league’s third-most shots on goal (34.4) while the Canucks have attempted just the 29th-most (34.4).
  • Chicago has allowed 3.1 goals per game this year, but has allowed 5.3 goals per contest on its four-game losing streak.
  • Over Vancouver’s last ten games, five of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 0-5 in those games).