The Chicago Blackhawks will be playing the second game of a back-to-back situation when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday night. Chicago had lost four in a row–all in regulation–heading into Wednesday’s date with Anaheim. The Golden Knights are 6-1 in their last seven contests following Tuesday’s defeat of Washington.
Another losing streak
The Blackhawks fired head coach Joel Quenneville on Nov. 6 in the midst of an eight-game losing streak and they have continued to struggle under interim Jeremy Colliton. Chicago has dropped four in a row to fall to 3-8-2 under Colliton and has lost 15 of 18 (3-12-3) since a 6-2-2 start to the season. The Blackhawks’ 3-2 home loss to Calgary this past Sunday was their fourth in a row in regulation but they at least showed some signs of improvement. It marked the first time in seven games that they allowed fewer than four goals (they had surrendered a ridiculous total of 19 in their three previous setbacks).
“We’re seeing improvement in parts of our game at times and then it just seems like we make other mistakes and all the good things that we’re doing are never good enough,” captain Jonathan Toews commented. “It’s frustrating when you don’t get the results.”
Forward Chris Kunitz has been scratched six times in the last eight outings and can probably expect to sit some more in the near future after incurring a game misconduct for elbowing against the Flames. That led to his team giving up two of Calgary’s three goals on the night.
Good as gold
Vegas saw its season-high five-game winning streak snapped when it fell 2-1 at Edmonton last Saturday. Center William Karlsson scored once against the Oilers to extend his goal-scoring streak to four games. Forward Reilly Smith (team-leading 13 assists) fueled Vegas’ recent run of good fortune by recording 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in his previous seven games before being held off the scoresheet by Edmonton.
“You’re going to run into a little bit of a hot goalie and it seemed like pucks were just hitting [Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen],” the 27-year-old Smith told reporters. “But I think, overall, we played a good game and if we keep that momentum and that pace into the next one, it will give us a good outcome.”
That is exactly what happened against defending Stanley Cup champion Washington on Tuesday. In a rematch of the cup finals, Vegas prevailed over the Capitals 5-3 to get back on the winning track.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 5, 2018
Center Cody Eakin, who had been tied with Jonathan Marchessault and Max Pacioretty for the team lead in goals, took the lead with his 11th of the season. Defenseman Nate Schmidt lit the lamp twice and also had an assist.
The Vegas Golden Knights are:
- 6-1 in their last seven overall
- 43-18 in their last 61 home games
- 54-26 in their last 80 games against the Western Conference
The Chicago Blackhawks are:
- 18-42 in their last 60 overall
- 19-42 in their last 61 road games
- 18-46 in their last 64 games against teams with winning records
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Chicago is 7-19 in its last 26 playing on no days of rest and 0-4 in the last four meetings between the two teams. The Golden Knights are 12-5 in their last 17 against opponents with winning percentages under .400. There is no reason to expect anything other than complete domination by the home team on Thursday.
Prediction: Vegas Golden Knights
Full-Game Total Pick
Chicago center Dylan Strome has two goals in four games with Chicago since being acquired from Arizona, where he lit the lamp three times in 20 contests. Vegas forward Alex Tuch has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last six games. Tuch and company can anticipate pouring in plenty of goals and assists against an opponent that has been giving ’em up left and right of late. The over is 4-1-2 in the Blackhawks’ last seven overall, 25-10-3 in their last 38 on the road, and 3-1-1 in their last five against winning opponents. It is also 4-1 in the Golden Knights’ last five overall. Additionally, the over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between the two teams. Look for this one to go over the total.