By: Trent Pruitt
It’s a Western Conference matchup between a couple of teams that are not even close to playoff contention. The Blackhawks had us all convinced one final time that they might make a run at the Wild Card before they lost two straight games this past weekend, including a 2-1 showdown with the worst team in the league, Detroit.
Money Line: CHI -146, SJ +134
Puck Line: CHI -1.5 (+170), SJ +1.5 (-195)
Over/Under: 6 (O -108, U -102)
Puck Drop: 7:00 CST, United Center, Chicago, IL
San Jose Sharks
It’s been a year to forget if you’re a fan of the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks sit only one point above the Kings for the race for lowest points in the Western Conference. They own a record of 29-35-5 and are 25th and 27th in goals against and goals for in the NHL. One bright spot for the Sharks has been their Penalty Killing unit. San Jose’s PK is ranked 1st overall, killing 86.4% of opposing man-advantages. That’s really impressive considering they spend a lot of time in the box. San Jose is second-to-last in penalty minutes with 717 on the year. As for individual efforts, no one is having an exceptional season. Timo Meir is the team’s leader in points and has only amassed 47 (21G, 26A). Defenseman, Brent Burns is used to putting up 60+ points but is second on the team with just 45 (12G, 33A). And finally, the goaltenders. Martin Jones continues to be one of the most inconsistent and flat out bad goalies in the NHL. He’s started 40 games on the season and has a GAA of 3.00 and save percentage of .896. His stats aren’t exactly terrible but any time I watch him, he doesn’t play well.
As I mentioned, the Hawks made had us all fooled once again as they tried to claw back into the playoffs. Chicago rattled off three straight games, bringing them back within four points of the second Wild Card spot before losing that absolute backbreaker to the Red Wings. Look, folks, I love the Blackhawks so it’s always hard for me to criticize them – but that’s my job so I won’t hold back. I don’t care that it was on the back end of a back-to-back. I don’t care that the plane was delayed and they didn’t arrive in Detroit until like 3:30 A.M. You were within four points of making it back into a playoff spot and you lose to the Red Wings. The Red Wings. This is a team that has literally won 16 games all season. The Power Play unit was absolutely pathetic. They went 0/3 and by the way, the Red Wings boast the league’s worst Penalty Kill (75.2%).
So that’s how our season is going. At least our guy Dominik Kubalik is in the running for the Calder Trophy.
Final Analysis & Prediction
Regardless of how bad these two squads are, there is still money to be made. The thing that sticks out to me in this matchup are the special teams’ units for both squads. The Blackhawks own a terrible PP unit while the Sharks are first in PK and the Blackhawks have a solid PK so I don’t expect any man-advantage goals. That really pushes me to side with the under of 6 goals in this game. While I think Martin Jones is terrible, he does have spurs where he can be reliable and as for Corey Crawford, he’s usually on his game. Roll with the under on 6 goals for a unit tonight! If for some reason Malcolm Subban is in net for Jeremy Colliton’s side, avoid the total and take the Sharks on the plus money. Make sure to check Left Wing Lock throughout the day to see who is starting!
Trent’s Record on Blackhawks Bets in ‘19-’20
Blackhawks Games: 15-10 (+3.80 Units). A $100 bettor has profited $380 in ‘19-’20.