The Pittsburgh Penguins are not far removed from their back to back Stanley Cup championships of 2016-17 but have been sluggish this year with inconsistent play on the back end. Just as interesting is the fact that they have gotten better goaltending since Matt Murray, their two-time Stanley Cup winning goaltender, has been sidelined. Casey DeSmith may not relinquish the job whenever Murray does return from injury. For the Chicago Blackhawks the glory is definitely over. Their run of three Stanley Cup championships from 2010 to 2015 was the greatest in team history but the chapter has closed on that era.
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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Date and Time: Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
NHL Betting Online Odds at Bookmaker.eu: Check Back Later
Penguins vs. Blackhawks TV Coverage: NBCSN
Chicago is certainly a name brand team with casual gamblers but most of the money here is going to flow towards Pittsburgh. The Blackhawks have been so putrid that their reputation with gamblers has eroded badly. Additionally, the Penguins still have a strong public reputation with their recent Stanley Cups and strong record from last year.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have a record of 12-10-4-2 which is good for fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins have an even split on totals of 12-12-4. On the road Pittsburgh is 5-4-2-2 with eight of their 13 away games staying under the total. Pittsburgh has won two of their last three games with two of those three matchups also going over the total.
The Chicago Blackhawks have a record of 9-16-4-1 with a 15-12-3 mark over the total. The Blackhawks are in the basement of the Central Division with the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks have a home record of 5-5-2-1 with eight of their 13 home games going under the total. Chicago is in an utter collapse in which they have lost eight of their last nine games overall. Just one of those nine games stayed under the total.
It’s not hard to understand why the Blackhawks are wallowing in the bowels of the NHL. Chicago has league rankings of 26th for goal scoring, 31st for the power play, 30th for goals against, and 29th for penalty killing.
Pittsburgh is far more impressive, at least on offense. The Penguins rank eighth in the NHL for goal scoring and eighth for power play efficiency. Defensively the Penguins rank 22nd in the NHL for goals against but that is improving recently. On the penalty kill Pittsburgh has been effective and ranks seventh overall.
Casey DeSmith has taken advantage of having to fill in for Matt Murray between the pipes for Pittsburgh. DeSmith has a .923 save percentage and a 2.43 goals against average with two shutouts. Murray struggled before he went out with a lower body issue with a save percentage of .877 and a 4.08 goals against average. Murray’s return is indefinite.
Corey Crawford has not been the dominant star of the past for Chicago. Crawford has a save percentage of .902 with a 3.22 goals against average. Backup Cam Ward has a .888 save percentage and 3.91 goals against average.
Players to Watch
Chicago’s Patrick Kane remains one of the most skilled and exciting players in the NHL. Kane has 13 goals with 19 assists but is a horrific minus eight.
Pittsburgh is led by future Hall of Famer Sidney Crosby. Crosby has a team high 15 goals with 17 assists and a plus ten. Pittsburgh defensemen Kris Letang has seven goals, 17 assists and a plus five.
Penguins vs. Blackhawks Free NHL Live Betting Odds Pick
Chicago is hopelessly bad this year and cannot merit consideration.
Penguins vs. Blackhawks NHL Live Betting Odds Picks: Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL Score Prediction: Penguins 3, Blackhawks 1
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