Arizona Coyotes (16-24-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (28-15-2)
|Date & Time||Tuesday January 20, 2015, 8:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -295 / Arizona Coyotes +260 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
Despite their strong play for much of the season the Chicago Blackhawks find themselves in third place in the Central Division standings. It just goes to show how strong the competition is in the Western Conference. Nashville leads the way and has been arguable the best team in the National Hockey League this year, and St. Louis is red hot right now while the Blackhawks have been a little up and down. Chicago is just 5-5-0 over their last 10 games and they’ve lost three of their last four and four of their last six. In their recent losses the Blackhawks have been having a tough time keeping the puck out of their net, something that is strange for a club that is second overall in the league in goals against per game. Sunday night they hosted the Dallas Stars in what was a competitive game until the Stars took over in the third period. Dallas opened this game with a couple of goals to take a 2-0 lead before Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad evened things up. Dallas would retake the lead with a goal in the final minute of the period, but Saad would score his second of the game and 15th of the season in the second period to even the game at 3-3 heading into the third. From that point on it was all Dallas who out shot the Blackhawks 14-5 over the final 20 minutes and out scored them 3-0 on their way to a 6-3 win. Corey Crawford took the loss, allowing five goals on 33 shots as the Hawks continue to struggle defensively of late. Chicago has allowed 15 goals over their last three losses but they have a great chance to get back on track on Tuesday night against an Arizona Coyotes club that has struggled to score all year long. The Blackhawks are still one of the teams to beat in the Western Conference and this is a just a bit of a rough patch for them of late but they need to pick things up because playoff positioning is going to be a real battle this season.
Arizona heads into this contest having lost five games in a row and are now 16-24-5 on the season. It seems like it’s just a matter of time before general manager Don Maloney elects to start selling off some veteran pieces in an effort to get younger and start rebuilding this Coyotes organization. Antoine Vermette could certainly on the move but that will make things even more challenging since he leads Arizona in points with 30 on the season. In fact the majority of the players who lead this club in scoring could very well be on the move if the offer is right because this club needs to get younger and get some youthful talent We’ve seen this league change dramatically over the last decade and the Coyotes just don’t have the right type of personnel to be successful with the way the league is built right now. Sunday night the Coyotes did a good job of rallying against the Winnipeg Jets but they couldn’t finish the deal in the shootout. Lauri Korpikoski and Tobias Rieder scored third period goals for Arizona that erased a 3-1 deficit, but Sam Gagner, Vermette, and Shane Doan were all denied in the skills competition as Winnipeg went on to the 4-3 win. Oliver-Ekman Larsson scored a first period goal in the loss.
This is a game that looks like it’s made for the Blackhawks to dominate but they have been struggling as mentioned. Arizona isn’t a good hockey club but at this price it’s hard to latch on to Chicago unless you like them on the puck line here.