Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#459 Chicago Blackhawks vs.
#460 Pittsburgh Penguins
Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 7:00pm EDT
PPG PAINTS Arena, Pittsburgh
Written by Chris King

It’s an interconference matchup on the ice in the Steel City as a pair of teams looking to pick up a win do battle. The Chicago Blackhawks are on the road as they travel to face the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night. Chicago was in action on Friday night on the road in New Jersey against the Devils. The Blackhawks came up a 4-2 loser on the road to Colorado in their season opener Wednesday night. Pittsburgh let a third-period lead slip away as they were dropped 5-4 in overtime on the road by Florida Thursday night. The Blackhawks are a surprising 9-0-1 in the last 10 meetings between the teams though it was the Penguins earning a 3-2 shootout win in the most recent matchup, which came at home on November 9, 2019.

Chicago Blackhawks Playing Second Game of Back-to-Back

Chicago was in action on the road Friday night against New Jersey as they continued a season-opening road swing. That makes this their second game of a back-to-back situation and their third game in four days after losing to Colorado on the road Wednesday night. The Blackhawks get a chance to return home after this contest so they’re looking to head home with some momentum. Chicago is going to have to fight through having some heavy legs with playing for the third time in four nights and the second game of a back-to-back situation here. The Blackhawks have to get off to a stronger start than they did Wednesday if they want to hang in the game.

On Wednesday night, Chicago dug a hole early in the game and couldn’t dig their way back out, sending them to defeat. The Blackhawks were outshot 18-8 in the opening period and trailed 3-1 after 20 minutes of play. Chicago trailed 3-0 less than 10 minutes into the contest before Dominik Kubalik got them on the board. His first of the season, on the power play, came at 16:47 off assists from Henrik Borgstrom and Ian Mitchell to make it a 3-1 game. The second period saw Chicago with a 13-9 shot advantage but they gave up the lone goal of the stanza to trail 4-1 after 40 minutes of action. In the final period, Chicago held a 13-9 edge in shots once again while scoring the lone goal of the period. That still left them short at the final horn. Connor Murphy scored his first of the season, unassisted, at 15:31 to make it a 4-2 game. The Blackhawks pulled the goaltender and had a 6 on 4 advantage for two minutes but were unable to light the lamp. Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves for Chicago, who was outshot 36-34, in the loss. With Fleury slated to start Friday night, it’s expected that Kevin Lankinen will make his first start of the season in this contest.

Pittsburgh Penguins Look to Avoid Meltdown on Home Ice

Pittsburgh generated plenty of offensive chances in their opener against Florida on the road but they struggled on the defensive end of the ice. That ended up costing them a point in their two-game season opening swing through the Sunshine State. The Penguins are going to have to shore up their defensive zone play if they want to have success going forward as blowing two-goal third period leads is hardly a recipe for success. Pittsburgh has had no problem lighting the lamp in the early going, denting the twine 10 times in the first two games. Will they be able to find a way to keep the puck out of their own net?

Against Florida, Pittsburgh started slowly, took control in the second and first half of the third periods, and then let it slip away. The Penguins were outshot 12-8 in the opening period of play and trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes of action. In the second period, Pittsburgh held a 17-10 shot advantage and outscored Florida 2-1 to tie the game at two after 40 minutes. After going down 2-0 early in the stanza, Danton Heinen got the Penguins on the board with his second of the year, on the power play, at 11:45 off assists from Dominik Simon and John Marino. Later in the period, Jeff Carter tied the game with his first of the season, on the power play, at 18:58 off assists from Kasperi Kapanen and Kris Letang. In the third period, the shots favored the Penguins 20-15 with both teams scoring twice, sending the game to overtime tied at four. Jake Guentzel gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead with his first of the year at 8:01 off assists from Carter and Letang. Just 30 seconds later, Evan Rodrigues made it 4-2 at 8:31 with his second of the season off assists from Mark Friedman and Jason Zucker. The Penguins wilted after that, giving up two goals 1:38 apart later in the period to tie the game. In overtime, Pittsburgh was outshot 2-1 and gave up the winning goal to wind up with the loss. Casey DeSmith made 34 saves for the Penguins, who held a 47-39 advantage in shots on goal, in the loss. Tristan Jarry is expected to get the start in goal for this contest.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Both teams are playing their third game of the season in this contest. Pittsburgh has home-ice advantage and a rest advantage with having the day off Friday. Chicago is logging their third game in four nights and their second game of a back-to-back situation. It’s tough to maintain success and momentum when you’re playing your third game in your third city in four nights like the Blackhawks are in this contest. They won’t have Fleury in goal to face his former team more than likely in this one, so the emotion factor is out of the equation. Given the weaponry that Pittsburgh has, even without Crosby and Malkin, you have to give the Penguins the upper hand at home here.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins -1.5 (+125)

Full-Game Total Pick

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Chicago saw six goals on the board in their opener, which was a push on the total in the loss to Colorado. The Blackhawks now head on the road again here hoping for a better showing. Pittsburgh’s two games this season have both gone over the number as we saw totals of eight and nine goals in those two contests. Seeing that the Penguins have scored 10 goals in their two games and they are facing a Chicago team that is going to be a bit gassed, you have to think that another big offensive showing is in the cards here. Look for another over involving Pittsburgh as they take advantage of the tired Blackhawks.

Prediction: Over 6
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Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.