Two of the top teams in the NHL meet on Wednesday night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Chicago Blackhawks in a game that can be seen on NBCSN. This is rivalry night on NBCSN, and although this is a great matchup, it is not a rivalry. The teams play in different conferences and meet only twice per season. The Penguins are battling for second place in the Metropolitan Division while the Blackhawks are in second place in the Central Division.
Don't miss the ice action from the United Center at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBCSN.
We'll have NHL odds at BookMaker.eu available for this and every game on the NHL Wednesday schedule.
This will be the second half of a back-to-back for Pittsburgh as they were in Dallas on Tuesday night. The Penguins were 13-15 in their first 28 road games with 16 going over, 11 going under with 1 push. Pittsburgh is 5-5 in their last ten in the second half of back-to-backs with 8 of the 10 going under.
The Blackhawks have had two days off to get ready for this game as they were home against St. Louis on Sunday. Chicago was 19-12 in their first 31 home games with 15 going over, 12 going over with 4 pushes.
The Penguins are the top scoring team in the league, averaging 3.5 goals per game, and they are 6th on the power play at 21.7%. They are just 23rd in the league on the penalty kill at 80.2%. The Penguins are 16th in the league in goals against at 2.8 per contest.
Chicago is just 17th in the league on the power play at 18.5%. They are 7th in the league in goals per game at three per contest. Chicago is weak in penalty killing at 76.7% which is 28th in the league. The Blackhawks are 9th in the league in goals allowed at 2.6 per game.
The Blackhawks have been much better offensively recently, as Jonathan Toews has heated up. He is playing alongside Nick Schmaltz who returned from a stint in the minors. Since returning, Schmaltz has four goals and six assists. He has two goals and five assists in his last six games. Toews has thrived on his new line with Schmaltz and Richard Panik. Toews has 20 points since January 22 with 8 goals and 12 assists.
This is a back-to-back so it will be interesting to see what Pittsburgh does in goal. Matt Murray is the clear number one and he has excellent numbers at 23-10 with a 2.27 goals against average. The backup is Marc-Andre Fleury who is 15-12 with a 3.16 goals against average. The most logical scenario would be for Fleury to play on Tuesday in Dallas and for Murray to play in Chicago, especially since there is still a chance Fleury could be moved before Wednesday’s NHL trading deadline.
The Blackhawks have a solid number one in Corey Crawford who is 24-16 with a 2.58 goals against average. Chicago also has a good backup in Scott Darling who is 14-7 with a 2.19 goals against average.
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Chicago has dominated this series of late, winning the last four meetings, with three of the four going under the total. It has been all Chicago at the United Center, as the Blackhawks have won the last four against Pittsburgh with three of the four going under the total. Pittsburgh has not won in Chicago since 2009.
The Penguins have not been nearly as good on the road as they have been at home, and the situation favors Chicago as the Penguins will be playing with no rest. I will lay the small price and take the Blackhawks, and also take the game under the total.
NHL Odds: Blackhawks 3, Penguins 2
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