Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#63 Chicago Blackhawks 6.5 vs.
#64 New Jersey Devils -135
Friday, December 6, 2019 at 7:05pm EST
Prudential Center, Newark
Written by Chris Kubala

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#63 Chicago
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It’s an interconference contest on the ice out in the Garden State between a couple of struggling teams. The Chicago Blackhawks are on the road as they travel to face the New Jersey Devils Friday night. Chicago was in action on the road Thursday night as they faced the Bruins in Beantown: they rallied for a 4-3 overtime win. New Jersey came up a 4-3 loser at home against Vegas Tuesday night in their previous game. The teams have split the last 10 meetings with the Blackhawks earning a 5-2 home victory in the most recent matchup on February 14, 2019.

Chicago Blackhawks Playing Second Game of Back to Back Road Set

Chicago was in action on the road against Boston in their last contest Thursday night but managed to rally and skate off with an improbable overtime victory. The Blackhawks are in the basement in the Central Division standings entering Thursday, 10 points behind the Jets for the final guaranteed playoff spot and 17 points back of the division-leading Blues. Chicago is 22nd in the league in scoring as they average 2.74 goals per game. The Blackhawks are 18th in the league in goals against by allowing 3.04 goals per contest. Chicago is 27th with the man advantage as they convert only 13.4 percent of their power play chances this season. The Blackhawks are 19th in shorthanded situations as they successfully kill off 79.8 percent of those situations this season.

In their last game, the Blackhawks were banged up and were unable to light the lamp in the loss. Chicago saw the shots even at 10 in the opening period and trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. The second period saw the Blackhawks own an 11-9 edge in shots with neither team lighting the lamp, leaving the game 2-0 after 40 minutes of action. In the final period, Chicago owned a 17-11 edge in shots but were outscored 2-0 in the period to end up with the shutout loss. Corey Crawford made 26 saves in the loss for the Blackhawks, who owned a 38-30 edge in shots in the contest. With Robin Lehner getting the start Thursday night, expect Crawford to get the call between the pipes for this contest.

New Jersey Devils Seek First Win Under Nasreddine

New Jersey fired coach John Hynes hours before faceoff of their game against Vegas Tuesday night and named Alain Nasreddine as the interim coach. Things still didn’t pan out as they blew another third-period lead to end up with a loss. The Devils entered Thursday in the basement of the Metropolitan Division, 15 points behind the Flyers for the final guaranteed playoff spot and 25 back of Washington for the division lead. New Jersey is tied for 27th in the league in lighting the lamp as they average 2.52 goals per contest. The Devils are a dismal 30th in the league in goals against as they surrender 3.63 goals per game. New Jersey is 28th in the league in power play success as they have converted only 13.1 percent of their chances with the man advantage: they are 13 of 99 thus far. The Devils are 24th in the league in penalty killing as they have been successful in 76.1 percent of their shorthanded situations this season.

In their last game, the Devils started off solidly but wilted late and it cost them the hockey game. New Jersey held a 17-7 edge in shots in the first period and took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room. Kyle Palmieri opened the scoring with his 10th of the year at 16:31 off assists from Damon Severson and Blake Coleman. In the second period, the Devils held an 11-10 edge in shots with both teams scoring once to leave New Jersey up 2-1 after 40 minutes. After Vegas tied the game up, Jesper Bratt scored his fifth of the year at 14:17 of the period. Severson and Pavel Zacha drew the assists on that goal. In the third period, the Devils were outshot 13-7 and outscored 3-1 to end up on the short end of the scoreboard. New Jersey gave up a natural hat trick to Jonathan Marchessault to fall behind 4-2 before they managed to get another goal on the board. Nico Hischier scored his fifth of the year at the 10:00 mark to get the Devils back within a goal. Taylor Hall and Palmieri drew the assists on that goal but they drew no closer. Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves for the Devils, who held a 35-30 edge in shots, in the contest.

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Both teams have struggled to get much going on the offensive end this season. Chicago has been better in the goaltending department this year but it’s tough to have a ton of faith in them on the road this season. The Blackhawks entered Thursday 3-5-3 on the road this season. New Jersey isn’t bowling anyone over this season but they have had a couple days of rest coming into this contest. The Devils are also at home, where they are just 4-7-4 on the season. Still, New Jersey gets the win here as they are better rested and Chicago deals with heavy legs.

Prediction: New Jersey Devils -145

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Chicago has had their issues lighting the lamp on the road and they nearly blew one on Thursday. The Blackhawks held a 3-0 lead in the third period before allowing the Bruins to tie the game and force overtime. On the season, Chicago has a -6 goal differential (39-33) and have been outshot by 116 (464-348) on the road this season. That gives an average of six goals per game for the Blackhawks on the road. New Jersey has been outscored by eight (52-44) at home despite owning a +55 shot differential (462-407) this season. That gives an average of 6.4 goals per home game for the Devils. What do we expect in this contest?

The under is 6-2 in the Blackhawks' last eight games against Eastern Conference foes and 6-3 in their last nine overall. New Jersey has seen the under go 4-1 in their last five against teams from the Central Division and 4-2 in their last six against Western Conference teams. It's hard to see these teams combining for seven goals given how poorly they have performed offensively this season. Take the under here.

Prediction: Under 6.5

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Thursday's win marked just the third time in 12 road games that Chicago held the lead at the end of the first period. The Blackhawks have trailed four times after 20 minutes and been tied in five other contests. On the flip side, New Jersey starts games strong at home, they simply can't finish them. The Devils have led after one period in seven of their 15 games at home and have been tied in five other contests. New Jersey should strike first and take the lead to the dressing room after one.

Prediction: New Jersey Devils

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Chicago's two-goal outburst Thursday night in the first period helped their season numbers on the road. The Blackhawks now own a +1 goal differential in the opening period on the road (12-11) though they have been outshot by 43 in those stanzas. Chicago has seen a total of 23 first period goals on the road, giving an average of 1.92 goals per game. New Jersey holds a +3 goal differential at home (15-12) and a +37 shot differential (156-119 in the opening period this season. That's an average of 1.8 goals per game in the opening 20 minutes. This one is likely a 1-0 game after 20 minutes, so lean toward the under here.

Prediction: 1st Period Under
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.