Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#67 Chicago Blackhawks 6.5 vs.
#68 Pittsburgh Penguins -220
Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 7:05pm EST
PPG PAINTS Arena, Pittsburgh
Written by Chris Altruda

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Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins

When and Where: Saturday, Nov. 9, PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa., 7 p.m. EST.

The Chicago Blackhawks look to run their winning streak over the Pittsburgh Penguins to 11 games Saturday night as the teams face off in an interconference clash.

Since the NHL lockout that canceled the 2004-05 season, the Blackhawks (5-7-3) have owned this rivalry with a 14-2-2 record. That includes a run of seven straight regulation wins and 10 consecutive victories overall since a 4-1 defeat in Pittsburgh on March 30, 2014.

The Blackhawks scored 11 goals in the two wins last season and scored three unanswered goals to rally by the Penguins 5-3 in Pittsburgh in January in the most recent matchup. Jonathan Toews had two goals and three assists in the two wins last season, while Patrick Kane had four assists.

Kane has totaled four goals and 13 assists during the 10-game winning streak, while Toews has three goals and seven helpers.

Blackhawks try again to turn corner, build on victory

Kane powered the Blackhawks to one of their more complete efforts of the season Thursday night in a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. He assisted on first-period goals by Alex DeBrincat and David Shaw before restoring a two-goal cushion with a power-play goal with 5:06 to play.

"We had a lot of good performances so certainly we would like to find a way to string two, three, four, five games together," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton told the team's official website. "That's what we need to get some momentum going. But I think there were a lot of good efforts (Tuesday night) tonight and guys can have a positive feeling."

Corey Crawford made 36 saves, but Colliton has yet to commit him for a second straight start or turn to Robin Lehner. Crawford has struggled on the road in the early going, posting an 0-2-1 record and 4.08 goals-against average in three starts.

Lehner has a 2.61 GAA and .936 save percentage while going 1-2-0 in three starts and four appearances. He also stonewalled the Penguins backstopping the New York Islanders to a first-round playoff series last season, conceding just six goals on 136 shots in New York's four-game sweep.

Pens out to end 'Hawks hex, pick up fourth win in six games

While the teams have met only once or twice each season during Chicago's spell of mastery, a constant theme in Pittsburgh's inability to win has been Sidney Crosby failing to find the back of the net versus the Blackhawks.

Crosby has gone seven games without a goal against Chicago and has just one assist in that stretch. His last goal came in a 3-2 overtime loss in January 2016, and Crosby owns a surprising minus-12 player rating while totaling three goals and four assists in 14 career matchups.

Crosby also enters this contest looking to end a funk, having been held off the scoresheet in Pittsburgh's last three games. The Penguins (9-6-1), though, have claimed three of a possible six points in those games after staging a third-period rally that propelled them to a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Jared McCann, Bryan Rust, and Evgeni Malkin -- a line put together by coach Mike Sullivan for the final 20 minutes after shuffling his trios -- scored in a 7:10 span of the third period to erase a 3-0 deficit before Rust netted the winner 3:25 into the extra period.

"I give our players a lot of credit," Sullivan told the club's official website. "Their resilience, their stick-to-it-ivness to keep fighting and keep pushing in that third period is an indication of the kind of character we have in our room."

Crosby has not gone four consecutive games without a point since failing to net one in the first five contests of the 2015-16 season.

Matt Murray, who finished with 20 saves Thursday night, is expected to be between the pipes once more for Pittsburgh. He lost his only start to Chicago in November 2017 but also mopped up a 10-1 pummeling by the Blackhawks in that season-opener, yielding six goals on 31 shots.

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will not play due to a lower-body injury suffered in Thursday night's win, with Sullivan saying the veteran blue liner is "week-to-week."

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Even though the Blackhawks have not played all that well on the road, they have the depth down the middle to fluster Crosby and the Penguins and at least keep this game close. Additionally, the absence of Letang could loom large -- especially on the penalty kill after Chicago cashed in for two power-play goals in a game for the first time this season Thursday.

 

Prediction: Blackhawks +1.5 goals (-136)

Full-Game Total Pick

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The under has traveled well with the Blackhawks of late, delivering in four of their last five road games according to Covers.com. The under has also hit in their last four matchups with Metropolitan Division teams. The under has been a solid play at home with Pittsburgh, going 18-7-1 in the last 26 at PPG Paints Arena and 13-5-1 in the Pens' last 19 as home favorites.

Prediction: UNDER 6.5 goals (-115)
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Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is based in Chicago. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiner, he worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Follow Chris daily right here at W&W and on Twitter at @AlTruda73. You won’t be disappointed.