Thursday NHL odds: Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets
As good as the Chicago Blackhawks have been this season, and they set the NHL record with at least one point in the first 24 games of this lockout-shortened schedule, they lead the Anaheim Ducks by only four points for the top seed in the Western Conference. The Hawks are on their first losing streak of the season as they visit Columbus on Thursday night but opened as -160 favorites on WagerWeb.com to stop the skid at two. Check our current lines.
Chicago has given up six goals each in its losses to Colorado and Edmonton. Against the Oilers on Sunday, Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist as the Blackhawks rallied after trailing 4-0, but Yann Danis made 10 saves in the third period to help the Oilers hold on. Hawks goalie Ray Emery was pulled midway through the period, marking the second straight time that coach Joel Quenneville yanked his starting goaltender from the game. Kane, Marian Hossa, Sheldon Brookbank and Brent Seabrook scored during the second, and Kane added his team-best 14th of the season to get Chicago within one with 13 minutes left.
Chicago looked tired in its seventh game in 11 days. The Blackhawks had given up four goals in a game just once through 24 games. The Blackhawks had given up multiple power-play goals just once through 24 games. They allowed a total of five power-play goals in the two losses.
Columbus lost 2-1 at home in a shootout to Vancouver on Tuesday. That ended Columbus’ five-game winning streak and deprived the Blue Jackets of tying the franchise mark for consecutive wins. Mark Letestu scored the only regulation goal for Columbus. Despite the loss, the Blue Jackets matched a franchise record by earning a point in an eighth consecutive game (5-0-3). Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, selected as the No. 1 star in the NHL last week, made his fifth straight start. He went 4-0 with a 0.77 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and his first career shutout a week ago. Brandon Dubinsky returned after missing 11 games for Colorado. He played 19:36 in the game, took two shots on goal, had five hits and won nearly 70 percent of his face-offs (11-for-16).
The Blackhawks have won both of their games against the Blue Jackets this season, including a 4-3 overtime victory in their most recent meeting, March 1 at United Center. The Blackhawks are coming off a four-day break, which could have given the consensus best team from the first half of the season a needed break. The Blackhawks are without Patrick Sharp (sprained left shoulder), who will miss another 2-3 weeks. Blue Jackets forward Artem Anisimov (lower body) is doubtful.
WagerWeb.com trends: Blackhawks are 3-14 in their last 17 after allowing 5 goals or more in their previous game. Blackhawks are 1-5 in their last 6 games playing on 3 or more days rest. Blue Jackets are 4-1 in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest. Blue Jackets are 4-1 in their last 5 when their opponent scores 5 goals or more in their previous game. Blue Jackets are 4-1 in their last 5 home games. Over is 22-5 in the last 27 meetings in Columbus. Blackhawks are 13-3 in the last 16 meetings in Columbus.