Minnesota Wild (0-1-0-1 SU, 1-1 PL, 2-0-0 O/U) vs Chicago Blackhawks (3-0-1-0 SU, 4-0 PL, 3-1-0 O/U)
When: 8:35 PM EDT, Thursday, October 12, 2017
Where: United Center in Chicago, Illinois
Lines: Chicago -142/ Minnesota +129
Central Division NHL action this evening and the Minnesota Wild will head to the United Center in Chicago, Illinois to grapple with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wild enter this contest off of a 5-4 loss at Carolina in a shootout, while the Blackhawks are off a 3-1 road win over Montreal. The Blackhawks won three of the four meetings between these teams last year. Goalie Probables: Devan Dubnyk will be in the crease for the Wild and he will be opposed by Corey Crawford.
Wild Are Still Looking For First Win
The Minnesota Wild had a solid season last year and made it to the playoffs, but they have not gotten off to a good start this year as they are 0-2 out the gate. They started out with a bad 4-2 road loss to the Red Wings and followed that up with a 5-4 loss at Carolina in a shootout. Just has not been the start they were expecting, especially since many expect them to be in the mix for the Division Title this year. Getting their first win of the year in this one may be a bit tough as the Blackhawks are really playing well. Scoring in the loss to the Canes was Jason Zucker, which was his 1st of the year, Chris Stewart, which was his 2nd of the year, Eric Staal, which was his 1st of the year and Mikko Koivu, which was his first of the year. The Wild were 22-19 on the road last year. Alex Stalock took the loss against the Hurricanes, allowing four goals on 42 shot attempts in the process. Devan Dubnyk is expected to get the start in this one and he lost 4-2 at Detroit in his lone start of the year. Last year, he was 40-24 with a 2.25 GAA overall, including 17-13 with a 2.37 GAA on the road. In his career, Dubnyk has gone 83-90 with a 2.60 GAA on the road and 17-16 with a 2.61 GAA during the month of October, while against the Central Division he has gone 53-55 with a 2.61 GAA, including 10-7 with a 3.06 GAA against the Blackhawks.
The Wild were a very good offensive team last year as they ranked 2nd in the league in scoring at 3.21 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots taken (30.8 spg) and 9th in power play conversions, converting on 21.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they were strong as they ranked 7th in goals allowed, giving up 2.51 gpg, while also ranking 13th in shots allowed (30.1) and 8th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 17.1% of their chances.
Crawford Stands Tall In Win Over The Habs
The Blackhawks are off to a 3-1 start to their year and that includes a 10-1 home win over Pittsburgh and a 3-1 road win of the Canadiens in their last game. Last year they bowed out in the playoffs in the first round to 8th seeded Nashville, so they may be playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulders this year. Corey Crawford had a big game in the win over the Canadiens as he stopped 41 of the 42 shots that he faced in the game. He is off to a very nice start as he is now 3-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .971 save percentage on the year. Last year, he was 32-22 with a 2.55 GAA and a .918 save percentage, including 16-10 with a 2.24 GAA here at home. In his career, Crawford has gone 115-77 with a 2.28 GAA in his home games and 27-19 with a 2.14 GAA during the month of October, while against the Central Division he has gone 81-54 with a 2.39 GAA, including 10-10 with a 2.48 GAA against the Wild. Scoring in the win over the Canadiens was Alex Debrincat, which was the first of his career, Brandon Saad, which was his 5th of the year and Artem Anisimov, which was his first of the year. The Blackhawks really have the look of a team that will again battle for the Central Division Title and once they reach the playoffs, they will look for a much better showing than last year. Chicago was 26-15 at home last year.
Chicago has been very good on offense this year as they come in ranked 2nd in the league in scoring at 5.25 gpg, while also ranking 26th in shots taken (29.8 spg) and 14th in power play conversions, converting on 18.8% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very good so far as they are ranked 4th in goals allowed, giving up just 1.75 gpg, while also ranking 25th in shots allowed (36.8) and 12th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 13.3% of their chances.
- The Under is 5-1 in their last six vs. the Western Conference
- The Under is 4-1 in their last five vs. the Central
- Under is 5-1-1 in their last seven Thursday games
The Wild are still looking for their first win of the young season, while the Blackhawks are off to a solid 3-1 start and Corey Crawford has been excellent in the crease so far as he has allowed just one goal in each of his three starts. The Over is 4-0-3 the last seven games in this series, but that is not the way I will go in this one. I really like the way that Crawford has been playing in the crease so far and the Wild are not a great offensive team. Devan Dubnyk has a 3.06 GAA in his career against the Blackhawks, but he is off of a strong year and will get back on track after a rough outing against the Red Wings to start the year. I do not look for a ton of goals in this one.